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One family’s escape to a better life

January 23 2024

In the February 2022 the lives of hundreds of thousands of families were forever changed. Yulia’s family is one of them – circumstances force them to leave their home country of Ukraine to seek a better life elsewhere.

Julia’s daughter Tess was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and epilepsy. The child needs treatment, medical supervision and care. A month after the start of the war, the whole family left together for Portugal. They spend 5 months there, but in the end they decide to move to Bulgaria and more precisely to Plovdiv. The mother manages to get temporary protection status.

At that time, the Mission Ukraine program of For Our Children Foundation has already started, and the colleagues manage to provide Julia and Tess with humanitarian aid. The child is also included in group activities when not at school. A social worker from Mission Ukraine recognizes the need for the intervention of a specialist and connects the family with the rehabilitator from For Our Children Foundation Stoyan Nikolov.

Thus begins the rehabilitation of Tess in Bulgaria. The rehabilitator sets out to work with the child, while also guiding the mother on what to do at home and how to improve the child’s functionality so that Tess can further develop her potential. Tess and her mother visit The Early Childhood Complex in Plovdiv every week and strictly follow the specialist’s guidelines. The child does all the exercises, and the mother also takes Tess to local gym for physical activities.

Over time, the volume of exercises and their duration increase in order to achieve greater progress and the child to have a bigger endurance and muscle strength. Tess also starts work with a speech therapist, and also work with a psychologist is planned, given all the difficulties the family has gone through and the traumatic memories.

All specialists from the foundation, that are working with the child and the family, strive to support their socialization in society, so that Tess can have a new start and a fulfilling everyday life in a place where she is accepted and can make her dreams come true.

The story was told by Stoyan Nikolov, a rehabilitator at the Complex for early childhood development of For Our Children Foundation in Plovdiv.

See Tess’s story in the video as well:

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