Our friendship and links with the orphanage in the Municipality of Razgrad, Bulgaria is still strong. The need for urgent humanitarian aid to improve the conditions of the 80 small children in the ‘Mother and Child’ orphanage in Razgrad continues to be a challenge. Councillor Robert Turner, his wife Barbara, and ourselves believe that the campaign we initiated several years ago to help the orphans has been very successful due to the generosity of many people in the Armagh city and district.
We undertook a private visit to the orphanage as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations on 21st October 2002. This was a joyous and emotional occasion. The Mayor of Razgrad, Venelin Uzunov, gave us a very warm welcome at the start of the impressive ceremony. Dr. Mincheva, medical director of the orphanage, expressed her deep appreciation of the very significant contribution that the funds raised in Armagh had, and continues to make, to the improved welfare of the children.
This anniversary was an important event for the community, the Municipality, the Orphanage staff and most of all, the children who participated with messages and songs. There were also contributions from local school children, and folk music and dance groups. It was a splendid occasion. Councillor Turner, who was invited to speak, expressed appreciation of the dedication of all involved, especially since they worked under very difficult financial circumstances. He said that since the first visit several years ago, many improvements had been made, and that there was a commitment to continue the support from the Armagh community as much more still needed to be done. Dessie reinforced these sentiments in his short address.
Parcels of children’s clothing donated by Co Armagh families were handed over, along with a small gift of money from the Mayor of Armagh City and District Council. The delight expressed was evidence of heartfelt appreciation and that continued aid to the orphanage is still very much a priority.
Over the years, these small children have seen their quality of life vastly enhanced through the goodwill of the people of this area. New kitchen, washing and drying equipment, building refurbishment and rehabilitation equipment is amongst the initiatives completed. A tour of the facilities, and meetings with staff and children confirmed this. But much more needs to be done. For example, a suitably equipped sensory calming room is essential for the disabled children, and a minibus is a priority – the current one is unusable.
This was a memorable and productive visit for us. We are convinced that the humanitarian aid programme should continue through fundraising in the Armagh area. We know that many local people share our hope for a better life for the orphans of Razgrad in the northwest corner of Bulgaria. Please support this project with your prayers.
The orphanage now has a capacity of 100 beds. It provides medical and social services to children aged 0 to 3. The services include rehabilitation, medical treatment, and specific care for children with higher level of medical or social needs. The rehabilitation centre for children under 8 offers physiotherapy and prophylactic procedures aimed to improve the children’s motor activity.
Dessie and Margaret Mitchell
|Lunch with Ilian, Rossi, and Christian in their apartment||Margaret with some of the babies|