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The path to a positive change through understanding or the story of Asen, Darina, and their six children

April 19 2024

On a hot summer day in the Complex for Early Childhood Development of For Our Children Foundation in Plovdiv, a signal for a large family that needs urgent support and counseling arrives. The social worker who takes over the case finds out that there is no phone number to get in touch with the family, so she decides to look for them at their place.  

The picture she finds is extremely heavy. The family of Asen and Darina consists of six children of different ages – the oldest is 16 years old and the youngest is 2 years old. Their dwelling is in poor condition and consists of a small vestibule and a single room in which everyone lives. The financial capabilities of the parents are very limited, which makes it impossible to improve the living conditions in their home. 

The signal that a health specialist sent concerns the two youngest children – two-year-old Dimitar and four-year-old Lily. They are not immunized and are not regularly examined by a healthcare provider. The mother suffers from a mild form of intellectual disability and has difficulty raising the children. It is difficult for her to understand some of their needs, particularly that they need health care. Fortunately, her mother who helps her, lives nearby, and their friends and neighbors respond with whatever they can. Asen, in turn, works long shifts to be able to feed his large family, but their finances are extremely scarce.  

After repeated home visits and conversations with Asen and Darina, they begin to trust the specialist and start to listen to the recommendations. Little by little and with great difficulty, they begin to allocate funds to improve the living conditions of their family. The mother realizes how important it is for children to be periodically taken to the pediatrician and given regular immunizations. It was also established that they had not received the one-off financial benefit for the two youngest children and with the assistance of the social worker, this is already a fact. 

After catching up with the children’s vaccines, parents also apply for family child benefits. There are provided food, clothes, toys, and hygiene supplies for the children.  

Most importantly, however, is that the family now is much more relaxed because they feel the support of our team. The social worker continues to consult and support them to this day, encouraging them to continue with confidence to take care of their children, relying only on their efforts. 

The story was told by Mariela Ilevska, a social worker from the Complex for Early Childhood Development of For Our Children Foundation in Plovdiv.

*Photo for illustration purposes only. 

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