When the large Children's home at Kermen finally closed at the end of 2014, the children and young adults were all moved to new sheltered family units, each having around ten residents. Some of these facilities were in the Sliven area, while others were further afield. With all the changes going on around the country, it has not been easy to track who had actually gone where. Yambol is a town around 30 kilometres from Sliven, to where, we understood, two of the disabled young men we had known for over sixteen years at Kermen, Peta and Sevgin, had been moved. In October a group of us went to visit them in their superb new surroundings. It was an absolute delight to find that we knew all ten of the residents. All were from Kermen. It was a joyful reunion with old friends.
The new family units are a great improvement to the old homes but some challenges remain. Sevgin, who has always ‘walked’ on his knees, clearly needs a new safe wheelchair. We are pursuing this issue with the Director. The biggest concern is just what will happen at the end of 2016 when the initial two year set-up funding from the European Union runs out and the local authorities take back responsibility. Following the closure of the old homes they will have some funding available but whether this will be sufficient to maintain the new staff and the higher standards of care is a big question. Do please pray for these delightful young people and their situation.Click here to edit text
The S+ix Ladies
We have known the six disabled ladies who live in a sheltered home in the centre of Sliven ever since 2005 when they moved in. At that time the house, provided by the Sliven Municipality, had been fully renovated as their home. Now, more than ten years later, the picture there was very different.
It was shocking to see how these women were living. The walls of their living area were black with mould, it smelt and felt damp. Their budget was cut again and there was no money to do anything about the problem. If the downstairs was a shock then the upstairs was hideous! The damp had seeped into their wardrobes. Being ‘cold and damp’ did not describe the condition … it was simply horrendous! The smell was suffocating in the bedrooms. The laminate floor was rotten with the damp. The Municipality offered them an alternative place on the edge of the gypsy ghetto but they would be so at risk there that they would rather live in the damp. We have no idea why the ladies were still smiling, but they are.
While the outside of the building looked attractive, the interior was grim, mainly due to poor ventilation. The prospect of another harsh winter in these poor conditions was daunting.
They have now moved into a large centrally-heated, self-contained apartment in one of the newer care centres in a good part of Sliven. Some of the money raised by our partners in Stafford to help fund renovations of the old building may well be used towards set up costs at the new apartment. The Church also provided new bedding, pyjamas and other gifts to greet them in their new home.