Bulgarian Schools Have New Mission - Save Future of School Dropouts from Poverty
Often around education-related dates, such as September 15 (the start of the school year in Bulgaria) and May 24 (the national Day of Education, Literacy and Culture), we take stock that we owe a lot to our teachers and what we have learned over the years at school. Unfortunately, many children in Bulgaria do not have a chance to get to school, and others drop out of the educational process too early. The reasons that take children away from the education system are usually poverty, misunderstanding and illiteracy in the family.
The number of children who do not go to school because they have been left in the care of a relative while their parents are abroad is also growing. These children are called the "new orphans" and also need support. But in school, the teaching staff is often insufficient in number in order to deal with both the teaching process and also the social problems of children. Institutions that are called upon to help a child in need do not always work in cooperation. Children do not receive the necessary protection, but the door to a better future is opened to them by concerned people from non-governmental organizations.
Among them, the active ones with ideas on how to keep the interest of many children in school are the volunteers in the Association for Shared Learning ELA. Its director Iva Boneva has been working for 20 years in support of children from different settlements, ethnic groups, children with disabilities, and more recently with those whose parents are far away:
"A lot has changed for the better over the years. We used to have a lot of kids in auxiliary schools before, and their place wasn't there. But things are not what I would like them to be. Child protection has been talked about frequently, and...