Our new book “The First 25 Years of Karin Dom” tells readers about the profound changes that are happening in our country over the past 25 years for children with special needs. They are told by eyewitnesses and active participants in these changes, who have encountered the status quo and dogmas, the rejection and isolation of children with diagnosis and various opportunities in our country. At a time when the world is actively working for the acceptance, inclusion and equal opportunities of children, in Bulgaria children born with disabilities are still abandoned in homes away from the public eye.
We express our gratitude to the Culture Fund of the Municipality of Varna for the financial support provided for its publication!
All proceeds are in support of Karin Dom.
What is it like to work for the change in hearts, in thinking, in people’s lives? How do the boldest dreams come true step by step? How many people can work together passionately, taking the baton one after another together with their colleagues, friends and like-minded people? How the dream of one man – Ivan Stanchov, founder of Karin Dom, grows into a community for which no dreams are impossible. And what is it like to be a parent and to be given a helping hand in your most difficult moment? All this is told by members of Karin Dom’s team, parents, friends and supporters.
Roses are part of our history and of the beautiful garden that Ivan Stanchov loved so much.
Our history begins in 1994 – a year of change, economic crisis, crisis of values and lack of policies for children and people with disabilities in our country. Some remember and others do not, but at that time children with special needs were still raised mainly in homes for abandoned children, without adequate therapy and chances of development. Parents who have dared to raise their children at home faced a lack of support and trained professionals.
Karin Dom is one of the first NGOs in Bulgaria to fight against the institutional care of children with disabilities and against the classification of these children as children with disabilities or as “sick” and “uneducable”. Karin Dom is also an organization that has a new approach to children with special needs and their families. The stigma that these children cannot be educated existed and the notion that their place is in institutions or day care centers where they have to be “treated” and that their place is not in their families, kindergartens and schools. Overcoming this stigma is a complex, difficult and lengthy process, which unfortunately continues to this day.
In this situation in 1994 the diplomat Ivan Stanchov founded the Karin Dom Foundation, and on June 22, 1996 the Karin Dom Center for Children with Special Needs was inaugurated by President Zhelyu Zhelev. Karin Dom commences work with the idea of creating a new model of services for children with special needs so that the abandonment of these children in homes can be stopped. Ivan Stanchov managed to persuade his family to donate their family villa “Three Wells” in the Sea Garden of Varna for the purposes of the foundation, which he named Karin Dom – after his first cousin Karin, born with cerebral palsy.
In 1996 the first children entered the center, and some of the parents later established the first parent organizations in Varna. This marked the beginning of Karin Dom, its mission and goals that we have followed so far. A strong community of specialists, parents and donors was created, which is still strong today and thanks to which Karin Dom is currently building a modern therapeutic complex in Varna. Fully designed and equipped for modern methods of work, the new center will be a source of pride not only for Bulgaria but also for any modern society for which the future of children is a top priority.
Who is this book for?
For anyone who is or will be a parent in the future, for socially committed leaders who educate responsible and tolerant citizens, for business leaders who believe that child-related causes are the best possible investment for the well-being of every community and country. Last but not least, the book is for team leaders who are looking for innovative and timely solutions for a happy and fulfilling childhood and parenthood.
Who helped us share the story of Karin Dom and the path of change?
Daniel Penev helped us write this book – journalist, translator and editor, author of the books “People who change Bulgaria” (2019), “It is up to us” (2020) and “Running towards yourself” (2021 – in co-authored with ultramarathoner Krasi Georgiev). We invited Danny to help us put all the pieces of the Karin Dom puzzle together and to present an exciting story about our first 25 years.
From the author
Why is the book “The First 25 Years of Karin Dom” important and for whom is it?
“The First 25 Years of Karin Dom” is an important book for two main reasons. On the one hand, there are not many non-governmental organizations in our country that have such a long history and so many achievements and innovations. Karin Dom is one of these organizations. On the other hand, as you can guess from the focus of my journalism so far, I believe that a good example is contagious. Presented in a fascinating way and in an accessible language, the example of Karin Dom can unlock and / or strengthen in thousands of our compatriots our innate instinct to help others – with time, money, other material donations, knowledge and skills.
“The First 25 Years of Karin Dom” is aimed at a wide range of readers. Although the topic primarily concerns the social sphere, the book is by no means intended only for those working in this field. Instead, it can benefit representatives of social institutions and civil society organizations operating locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally, as well as educators, psychologists, professionals with different profiles who work with children and young people, human resources management specialists and company executives and employees who are actively looking for ways to support organizations and initiatives for the benefit of society.
What can readers take from the history of Karin Dom that is presented in the book?
The book is very practical and presents the views of former and current members of the Karin Dom team, as well as trainers, donors and supporters of the foundation. This means that readers can draw inspiration from the work of these people, “steal” specific ideas to apply elsewhere in the country, including in different contexts, find potential supporters and partners, and learn more about the changes made in the last 25 years in the social sphere in Bulgaria. Last but not least, the history of Karin Dom clearly shows that any constructive change, no matter how large-scale it is, always arises as an idea in the head of a person who dares to dream big of a better world.
If we have piqued your interest, read the first-person stories of specialists, parents, donors and friends of Karin Dom, included in the book! In it you will find many photos from the therapy in Karin Dom, from events and trainings and from everyday moments filled with smiles and roses.
A bit more on the history.
Ivan Stanchov returned to Bulgaria after the political and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1990 for the first time in 47 years. In 1991 Ivan Stanchov was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Kingdom and the first Bulgarian Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. He presented Queen Elizabeth with his credentials, dressed in his grandfather’s ambassadorial suit, Dimitar Yanev Stanchov (1863-1940), also ambassador to Great Britain (1908, 1922-1924), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1906) and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1907). (You can read more about the Stanchov family, in the book “Diplomat and Gardener”, published by Karin Dom.).
From 1994 to 1996, before the start of the center in Stanchov’s private villa, the first in Bulgaria game library for children with special needs and their families was established. Donors provide toys and materials that parents take home and then return. For the first time, children with disabilities have the opportunity to play together, guided by specialists, and parents, to share and communicate in informal groups. In 1997 children entered the center, and some of the parents later established the first parent organizations in Varna.
Ivan Stanchov gathered a small team of specialists and invited professionals from England to train their Bulgarian colleagues in cutting-edge modern world-renowned therapeutic methods. Ivan Stanchov attracted donors and supporters to support the cause and very soon the first therapeutic programs for children and for support of parents began in Karin Dom. From 1994 to 1996, before the start of the center, in the private villa of Stanchov, the first in Bulgaria game library for children with special needs and their families was established. Donors provide toys and materials that parents take home and then return. Children have the opportunity to play together, guided by specialists, and allows parents to share and communicate in informal groups.
Строим новия терапевтичен и образователен комплекс във Варна