Karin Dom has won the national competition “Of NGOs and people”, organized by the Tulip Foundation and the Information Portal of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in Bulgaria. The subject for the short essay was “Why is My Organization Important to the People”. The idea of the competition was to encourage the city organizations in using clear and understandable language in communicating with people the organization is working with and for, with the volunteers and donors, with other organizations, media and the society. The criteria was: understandable written language, clear presentation of the organization and its importance to the people, interests and a memorable story.
Forty-six essays from various organizations from all over the country, competed for two prizes. The jury were: Luba Yordanova, journalist with Capital newspaper, Marin Bodakov, writer and teacher and Georgi Angelov, journalist and host at Bulgarian National Television. The first prize was awarded to Tsevetalina Yosifova – psychologist at Karin Dom. Tsveti is a licensed psychotherapist, member of the Society for Positive Psychotherapy in Bulgaria. Her work at Karin Dom includes therapy with children with different emotional-behavioral problems, development disorders, parent consulting, family therapy, parent support groups. She participates in projects on integrating children with educational and behavioral difficulties, at both kindergarten and school. At present, she is specializing in clinical psychology at Medical University – Varna.
We want to thank Tsveti for the wonderful presentation with the essay “Why Karin Dom” which earned the admiration of the jury and the whole team.
Why “Karin Dom”?
I am going to tell you a story. About my first day at Karin Dom. It was the summer of 2011. I went as a volunteer, driven by the wish to help those who are in great need of help, the children! As well as with a certain dose of curiosity, given the name and history of Karin Dom and… pure coincidence. I work as a psychologist and psychotherapist. My work was aimed at a more different direction that is why I’m saying it was by coincidence but there is no such thing as coincidence. All happened slowly, gradually, step by step. At first, I loved the wonderful house, hidden in the shade of trees, above the sea, among the flowers, it has always attracted me. And then, my colleagues, young, beautiful, smiling and giving people who know what they’re doing! And then, the children!
I will never forget my first day. I walked into the physiotherapy room. There was a session with a little boy who had motor difficulties /later on I knew his name and story/. But back then, to me he was the boy who couldn’t walk. One of the therapists was supporting him by the legs, another was showing him a book and talking to him /after that I found out she was a speech therapist/. The boy had braces on his legs. The exercise he was doing that looked easy with the first glance, cost him so much effort, both physically and to his will. Every now and then they would ask him “Does it hurt?”, “No!”, “You want a break?” “No!” I saw his face, the great focus and will, written all over it. He walked two metres with support. The longest metres in my life. And then he said “Let’s do it again!” That is when I understood, here are the real things in life, the ones that matter! Here are the real people! And I promised that I will never complain again or whine about meaningless things! I’ve told this story many times during psychotherapy groups at the Center. If the little boy can do this, then we, the adults can do anything! He was an inspiration not only to me… But this story isn’t about the Boy who doesn’t give up, but about the Boy who learns how to walk! The Boy who doesn’t give up but fights! The Boy who doesn’t whine or complain but puts in daily effort. There are many others boys and girls, there are many more other stories like this one.
Sometimes things happen like that…Long waited or planned, a child comes as a gift into our life. To give meaning to our days, to make us better people, to teach us unconditional mother, parent love that can be compared to no other. And sometimes it happens that the child doesn’t develop according to our expectations, it is different in its own way. Even if it’s obvious, we would wish it wasn’t that way, that the child will “grow out of it”, that we should just wait. There are different developmental disorders in childhood age that affect use or understanding of speech, communication, mental delays, motor deficiency, emotional-behavior disorders in regulating behavior and others. There comes a time when the parents understand that their child is experiencing difficulties and they must seek help. They usually turn to a doctor first, sometimes they’ve been directed by the kindergarten and that is how they reach us, the therapists. This is the beginning of the path we will walk together alongside the children and the parents.
These are the people who need us. It can be anyone. And just as the physiotherapist encouraged the little boy not to give up, to keep on trying, to keep on believing, to help him, teach him to manage, this is how we, the psychologists, psychotherapists, speech therapists, special teachers, social workers, we help people to manage, to find strength in themselves to keep going, to know the possibilities, to make a choice, to follow and fight for that choice, to have a better life. As a saying goes: “Give man a fish, and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you will feed him for life.” This is the true meaning of our work. This is also part of our work with both children and families here. How we do it? It is for the parents and children to say. Not by gratitude, if we did our job, they won’t come back to thank us, they will be strong enough to move on without us. Because this is the natural process of growing. This is how you will recognize them – they leave here stronger, more capable, more confident. How we do it? Together!
We don’t expect and we don’t want to make children the same. Our message is to allow them to be different. Not by being a bystander but by helping them become the best version of themselves and give them the chance to do it. It isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible. There are places where this happens. One of them is “Karin Dom”.
Author: Tsvetalina Yosifova