Christmas 2014 – A Snapshot!
Good things– the clothes and the Xmas gifts that we bought for the small group homes went down really well and great that the residents are getting to really know us well now.
The staff at Samuil, though misguided seem to want to improve the institution and were pleased to be showing off the building improvements.
Bad things – Sad that the institution is being refurbished, because that means they are investing in the future of this building rather than in the lives of its inmates. Sadly, I believe the refurbishment works are supposed to demonstrate the institutions care of its residents, however it merely shows the intent to continue to imprison these innocent people.
On our visit to Samuil, i noticed lots of familiar faces missing, which left me thinking ‘where could they be’. I also cannot understand why it is that following a trip out to town, the residents are made to take off the half decent clothes for going out and are kitted out back in their old clothes. Hardly anybody owns their own clothes. Pete Brady, Chairman
A chance to venture to part of Samuil institution where residents with more severe disabilities, immobility and illness are housed was the most memorable part of the trip for me. A chance to include them in the distribution of party food, to help feed them and ensure they didn’t choke. These poor people who have never had the opportunity or support to venture into the main areas of Samuil, let alone access the community.
In contrast, distributing gifts to a small group home a couple of miles from Samuil was the beginning of an hour’s partying, initiated by the residents with music, dancing, a game of badminton and followed by fireworks. A really positive note to end the trip. Tracy Robbins
Entering into Bulgaria for a second time, we were able to see more plainly the distinct short-term effects of de-institutionalisation, when certain individuals were taken out on trips. We used some of our raised funds to take groups of residents to the hairdressers and for a meal, and it was here we found some personalities could express themselves more freely. Sergey, a typically aloof and withdrawn resident, when given some space for interaction (even through a language barrier) he began to reveal some character not seen when amongst the large population of the institution. Many others were also able to express personality traits which their institutionalisation usually suppressed. This seemed to be similarly enjoyed by Yuksel, the institution director, whose interaction with the residents is very different from that which the charity has experienced at a number of previous institutions. He is both affectionate and patient, despite the 80+ people in his charge, and was more than happy to join the queue and have a little off the top, much to the amusement of the residents. Emily Brady and Harry Coleman