About One Heart Bulgaria
–How we help
–Board of Directors
Thousands of children in the overcrowded and under-funded orphanages of Bulgaria are currently suffering from lack of attention, basic amenities, nutritious food and a hope for their future. One Heart Bulgaria's goals are to provide for immediate, critical needs and build an infrastructure that will ensure long-term social, emotional, and physical health for the children it serves. The results of OHB's efforts will be children and young adults who have the opportunity to develop and reach their potential in a healthy and supportive environment, enabling them to become happy and successful members of the Bulgarian society. We achieve this by:
One Heart Bulgaria's roots go back to 1997, when co-founder, Glyn Barker, delivered a truckload of humanitarian supplies to an orphanage in Sofia, Bulgaria. Moved and saddened by the conditions she saw there, she determined to remain involved in helping this particular group of needy children. In December of 2000, Glyn and a group of interested friends delivered Christmas presents and medical supplies to the orphanages. Another humanitarian shipment was made the next year, arriving on Christmas Day.
Also in 2000, Glyn accompanied a friend on a trip to Bulgaria to assist with an adoption. The plight of two little boys—twin brothers—who lived in one of the orphanages caught her attention, and she decided that there must be something she could do to ease their suffering and bring them a little happiness and hope on an ongoing basis. With the help of her long-time friend, Radost Yanakieva, Glyn began sending monthly donations for food and medicine for the little boys—only to find that the relatively small amount she was sending was having a greater impact than she anticipated.
Interest in this humanitarian effort soon grew among family members and friends, and before long Deborah Dushku Gardner duplicated Glyn's program in an infant orphanage. By this time, Glyn and Deborah began discussing the possibility of incorporating as a non-profit organization.
In March of 2003, the dream became a reality—One Heart Bulgaria incorporated both as a non-profit organization in America, and as a non-profit foundation in Bulgaria. In the year and a half following the incorporation, One Heart Bulgaria expanded quickly to impact the lives of over 850 children living in ten orphanages in Western Bulgaria. Within three years of incorporating, the organization was improving the quality of life for 1,200 plus orphans living in fourteen orphanages.
How we help
One Heart Bulgaria is unique in its ability to serve the Bulgarian orphans. We begin by building strong relationships with the orphanage directors. These men and women have a great deal of influence over the day-to-day life of the children under their care. We become partners with them in providing the most efficient help possible, tailored to fit the children's specific needs.
Because we design each sponsorship and special projects to match each orphanage, we are able to be flexible when emergencies arise. One winter, for example, we were asked by the Ministry of Child Protection to provide heating fuel for a remote orphanage. A sponsor was quickly found and the necessary funds were sent to the orphanage, helping them get through a particularly difficult winter. That sponsorship continued throughout the year and has developed into a wonderful relationship.
Each member of the board and all members of our operations team have a strong connection to Bulgaria and deep interest in the orphanages we sponsor. Several members of the board have personally visited the orphanages and interacted with the children. The compassion we feel for these children is heightened by the fact that we know them—we have seen, held, cuddled, and played with almost every child in the orphanages we sponsor. This is a tradition that we will definitely continue.
One Heart Bulgaria is interested in providing long-term solutions for the problems in these children's lives. We support and encourage self-sustaining projects and look for ways to help the orphanages help themselves. One such project we are trying to develop is a sewing co-op in the teenage orphanages. With this program teenagers in the orphanages would learn about textiles and gain valuable sewing experience for possible jobs in the future upon their release onto the streets at eighteen. A sewing co-op would also bring in some revenues for their orphanage. Another similar project includes an orphanage bakery set up on the orphanage grounds where the orphans could learn about baking, business management, entrepreneurial skills, social skills, and gain self worth. Again, this program would bring in revenue for participating orphanages as local citizens in the community purchase baked goods.
One Heart Bulgaria is also helping to save the lives of many orphan babies suffering and dying from hydrocephalus through our Hydrocephalus Program. Under this program, babies and young children can receive operations and return home to their parents who were once helpless to take care of them.
Orphanage Worker training is an important part of One Heart Bulgaria's goals for the future. We encourage orphanage workers to participate in job training that will help them learn skills necessary to provide focused, loving care to the children they interact with every day, regardless of age or ability.
One Heart Bulgaria also has an Internship Program so that loving, qualified, Bulgarian-speaking individuals can go live in the orphanages for a period of time and directly impact the lives of the children they work with.
Our current financial structure allows One Heart Bulgaria to deliver aid to the orphans with minimal administrative overhead, as well as for our donors to contribute at any level they choose and to determine where their donation will be used.
In the USA, everyone connected with One Heart Bulgaria works as an unpaid volunteer. The expenses are kept to a minimum, with funds used mostly for printing, mailing and travel.
In Bulgaria, One Heart Bulgaria has two full-time employees—the director, and a counselor who also serves as an assistant director. There are also three part-time One Heart representatives, working directly with the children in each orphanage. They, as well as the counselor, are funded directly from the sponsorship for the orphanage they serve.
Board of Directors
Field Director (Bulgaria):
Chairman of the Board:
Advisor to the Board:
Additional and current information about adopting from Bulgaria can be found at the US Embassy of Bulgaria.
165 N. Main ° Providence, UT 84332 ° USA ° (435) 764-3093