This is part of the the story about Karin Dom published in the Vagabond magazine (Issue 69). The wonderful article is written by Dimana Trankova.
You can read the whole story online HERE
“Mornings in the Karin Dom Centre in Varna are like mornings in every other kindergarten or primary school. Parents and grandparents bring in their children and grandchildren. Teachers greet them. Jackets and coats are hung on the racks, each under its little owner’s name. Children’s drawings cover the walls. In one of the paintings, a fuzzy four-legged purple thing teases you to guess what it might be. A hobgoblin, of the cute type? Maybe a sheep? It appears, a Karin Dom lady discloses, that it is actually an aubergine.
The kids spend the whole morning here playing, drawing, learning, doing exercises, taking care of the strawberries in the garden. At noon, their parents and grandparents appear again and take them home.
However, neither the children nor the Karin Dom are in any way ordinary. Every one of the 30 or so children who visit the centre every day was born with a disability that prevents them from attending a mainstream nursery or primary school. Some have cerebral palsy and others autism; the range of conditions is quite wide, but all are united in their common search for solutions. Bulgaria still lags behind many countries in providing proper treatment for such children and help for their families. Many paediatricians are ill-trained to spot such conditions at an early stage. Day care centres are few. Parents get little help from the state, so many families leave their children in state run “homes for disabled children.” In some of these places, staff struggle against the odds to care for the children properly but, as a 2007 BBC documentary showed, in some of them children die of malnutrition and neglect.
Karin Dom is the complete opposite. Since its opening in 1996, the centre has been providing daily care for children with special needs – as a policy, stigmatising terms like “invalids” are a no-no – and their parents. The majority of the children are from Varna and its environs, but there are also some from other parts of Bulgaria and a few from abroad.”
Keep reading – click HERE