It’s Friday. A lot of the day is planned but dozens of things arrive unplanned and urgent calls for action are inevitable.
The complex is teeming with people. Group of foster parents are being filmed by our friends and partners from Arena Media and the stage management involves a lot of mobile paraphernalia – equipment and props – but, above all, an eye for detail. Mothers are moving around the complex as the film-makers search for locations. The mums are happy – they are celebrities.
In the meantime, a workshop is in progress. It’s part of a new EQ project supported by the Trust for Social Achievement – “Confident parents for successful children”. This workshop brings together Roma intermediaries from two neighbourhoods to work with our social workers and special educators to explore attitudes and help plan programes targeted towards stimulating the cognitive development of young children and promoting their physical and emotional safety, health and nutrition. This inevitably avoids discussing the issues of pregnancy and womanhood.
Discussion continues over lunch which is followed by a challenge – devising options for sensory exploration and play employing everyday objects and domestic experiences – fashioning toys and kneading dough, and creating the types of objects that can pacify of fascinate very young babies. The male participants – inventive and good with their hands – do every bit as well as the female participants. However, we’ll let you judge for yourselves – check out the photo gallery.
It’s the last Friday of the month and we regularly host meetings of a support group for experienced foster parents and those considering fostering. Almost 30 parents take part meaning that we need to cater for as many as 40 babies and pre-school children. Volunteers from the Junior Red Cross are here to help and our soft play room and gymnasium are at their disposal.
Many want to play but the sleepy-heads need quiet, soothing and lullabies. Nappies and clothing need to be changed and toilet training is in full swing. The sun makes a rare winter appearance and outdoor play is in order,
Amid the melee is little Bobo – he is two but has yet to take his first steps. His mum who has raised him alone has brought him today as an experiment. How will he handle it? He rises to the occasion – shoes off, he joins the others and is soon disheveled and red-cheeked which is what social play is all about.
Clear the gym – it’s time for the dance club courtesy of Mr and Mrs Lazarov. It’s for those kids we work with in the centre for street children. They don’t thrive at school where they’re inattentive. Yet, they show concentration when learning choreographed dance routines. This is something they commit themselves to.
Behind closed doors, job interviews are in progress and new contracts are being signed signaling the start of a new year at the complex. Who should take part in an international conference in Veliko Tarnevo? How are the refurbishments going in the basement?
It isn’t only all-go inside the complex – cars arrive, leave and return again carrying team members around the community we serve – formal meetings with partners and home visits. Wherever there are children, our mobile team is active. Where today? Maternity ward? High school?
We love to record the little things – the people leaving in streams and still animated. Those searching for misplaced shoes and favourite toys. The toddlers – happily exhausted and dozinf off in their buggies.
Most interesting, different “streams”, started to leave from the complex! Looking for shoes, toys, fatigue lulls babies in the “movement”. But this is something that must be seen!
Shortly after five o’clock, the silence in the complex is just unnatural.