Thank you, Jemagre & Iceflower
Summary of article in Billed Bladet #20, 2011.
Børn har ret til kærlighed - Children has the right to be loved.
Written by Trine Larsen.
Countess Alexandra recently visited an orphanage in Bulgaria on behalf of UNICEF and she also inaugurated a UNICEF centre there.
The centre can advise up to 220 families with children. And 25 families can attend a socalled family apprentenship, basically intense family counselling.
There is room for about 20 women to go to consultations prior to giving birth.
And up to 60 families can recieve family councelling.
There is also room for 20 children, from varios orphanages, who at the centre can recieve social behavioural training.
Just as there is a special kindergarten for 50 children and their parents.
There are around 14.000 orphans in Bulgaria, living in 131 orhanages. The one Alexandra visited must be considered among the best.
It's no fun being an orphan in Bulgaria, no fun at all!
Countess Alexandra visited an orphanage with 55 children at the age of 0-7.
Many if not most of the children are not used to human contact, let alone tenderness, being caressed or even being spoken to. As such they already socially handicapped, introverted, shy, fearful and recoiling from human contact.
Alexandra managed to create a contact with a number of the children, who at first were unresponsive but then lightened up and even smiled. Here was an adult who was friendly and showed them attention, any attention.
Especially one of the children, 18 months old Elena. At first Elena was unreponsive towards Alexandra who caressed the child, spoke to her, talked and smiled to her. Then Elena thawed and smiled back and grabbed Alexandra's hand firmly.
The reporter herself, also fell for one one the children, Svetlana.
Afterwards Alexandra said: "It's heartbreaking to see children live like that, especially as you know, they are not orphans but simply abandoned. Left at an orphanage because their parents are so poor that they cannot take care of them themselves".
The UNICEF centre is located in in Vidin, in the poorest area of Europe and there is a long standing tradition there for sending the children to an orphanage, when the parents cannot cope.
Alexandra: "We must change that. Because evrybody knows how important it is for children to grow up with their parents and siblings. Where there is care and love, something they don't get at an orphanage. We saw that very clearly.
I'm certain the employees do what they can (*) but there are no enough resources to provide care and comfort. But hopefully the UNICEF centre in Vidin will become a rolemodel for several other centres in Bulgaria.
There are 14.000 children in orphanages in Bulgaria and they have not only deserved another life, they also have a right to that. But a change of attitude is also needed and hopefully the UNICEF centre can help in that respect".
Q: As a mother it most be horrible to see so many children suffer from lack of human contact and love?
A: "It's heartbreaking, especially when you learn that the infants are isolated for 21 days when they arrive. Imagine an infant who has no other form of contacts with adults, other than when they get a change of diapers and are fed. It's unbeareble to think about".
- I find such articles and project so very important, but on a personal level they bring back unpleasant memories. I've dealt with traumatized children myself, some of them were orphans.
All your problems seems so utterly trivial in comparison.
(*) One of the pictures in the articles was telling I think. Alexandra is trying to establish contact with a boy, who was afraid, because he was not used to someone touching him. The expression in the eyes of the attendee holding him was blank, numb, indifferent, dead.