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On 24th February, 2010 Equilibrium (EQ) and Ruse’s Open Society Club (OSC) hosted a press conference in Ruse’s EU Information Office to announce our collaboration in the creation and implementation of an information campaign on the subject of foster care.

It’s our ambition to both improve public awareness of what foster care entails (as opposed to adoption for instance) and to encourage would-be foster parents to come forward. Fortuitously, our initiative coincides with government deinstitutionalization policy as recently publicized which defines foster care as the principal alternative to institutional care.

Assisted by our media partners, Arena Media, we’ve developed a visual presentation (PowerPoint and video clips) that we will use in the context of a road-show that takes in something like 30 small towns and villages scattered across the Ruse administrative district. The development of this material was a real group effort and we’re very grateful to Iva, Mira and Plamena for their creative input that shaped the raw material into a campaign package that will be thoroughly tested and refined in the Ruse area before being transferred to Lovech region to form an essential part of our de-institutionalisation programme in that part of Bulgaria.

The mayors of the various towns and villages have been asked to assist by providing a venue and coordinating the distribution of posters and information leaflets in schools, kindergartens, post offices, pensioners’ clubs and other meeting places. Milena has been in charge of this coordination process and has done a fantastic job organizing visits to town halls so that details can be sorted out and updating a campaign schedule that grows and grows.

The formula was tested with considerable success in the village of Nikolovo where Iva led the presentation assisted by a substantial team from the complex. Team members mingled with the audience asking for feedback, providing contact details and answering questions. We’re confident that all those who attended now understand what foster care means in the Bulgarian context and some may be considering applying to become foster parents.

Iva is one of our three psychologists at the complex and her two colleagues – Lyuba and Yana – will share the responsibility of leading the presentations. Indeed, Eli, forever the volunteer, may try her hand at addressing a village audience. Loads of staff members have joined the traveling team making this the largest and most ambitious group effort ever undertaken at the Ruse complex. Our drivers, Gosho and Venci, will be kept busy!