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 Brailsford 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.