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One Life Bulgaria

Allow me to introduce myself and the charity, I am Carl Smith, Chairman of “One Life Bulgaria”

I first came to Bulgaria in 1999 and worked for the British Embassy as a military diplomat. Following my retirement in 2003, and a short period of time in the UK, I returned to Bulgaria to live and work. Shortly after my return I was asked to take on the Chairmanship of the charity.

One Life Bulgaria is a Sofia based charity which is dedicated to looking after the less fortunate children in Bulgaria.

{adsense,pub-9449817363577881, 3370438888,336,280}The charity is run by both Bulgarians and foreigners who all have the same caring attitude towards the sick and needy. The charity began in 2004 when a group of locals and ex-patriates decided to organize a charity bike ride. From that initial idea “One Life Bulgaria” was born.

Our initial funding efforts were concentrated on the National Hospital for Infectious Diseases (NHID) . Having renovated the two children’s wards of the hospital, repaired the roof and provided them with almost 100 new beds and bedding, together with some medical equipment and supplies, the charity has now moved on.

The Oncology ward of the Varna Hospital were in need of help and contacted the charity. As a result of the charity's efforts, the renovation of the children’s wards and bathrooms has begun, and a significant amount of bedding, furniture and equipment has already been provided.

In addition to helping hospitals, the charity has also been involved with a number of other causes throughout Bulgaria. Examples of our work are:

The provision of new braille equipment and books for Sofia blind school.
The provision of new central heating systems for a local orphanage.
The provision of new beds and bedding for the orphanage in Samokov.
The provision of new beds, bedding, computers and ancillary equipment for the orphanage in Panagyurishte.
The provision of clothing, nappies, and associated equipment for an orphanage housing 250 children in Pleven.

In addition, the mobilization of other organisations to assist with renovation and repair work.


The story of Pleven is particularly sad. We first visited the hospital in March 2008 and what we saw touched us all very much. There are 250 children in the hospital, of which 80 are mentally or physically handicapped. However, all of them are very sick, underweight and, in reality, have little or no prospect of a normal life without outside help.

We had to find a way forward and, through contact with the Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA), we have managed to attract support. The people of CWUHA, who are either BT or Post Office workers in the UK, are a most amazing bunch of caring people. Having made contact they decided to come to Bulgaria to ascertain what help we as a charity needed, and just how they could provide that help. We took them to Pleven and to one of the orphanages we support and, like us, they were extremely touched. They pledged their support.

Since their visit, and our submission of our “Wish Lists” CWUHA have been busy getting together as many of the items on our lists as possible. I am very pleased to say that their efforts have proven to be beyond our dreams and expectations. Thanks to CWUHA, the causes we are currently supporting will benefit additionally from a whole array of clothing, furniture, beds and bedding, essential medical equipment, interactive toys and so much more.

You can view the work of the charity, together with the complete “Wish Lists” and the complete presentation from our visit to Pleven on our website, which can be found at:

www.onelifebulgaria.org

You can view the website of CWUHA, and see the projects they involve themselves in at:

www.cwuha.org

With approximately 170 orphanages in Bulgaria, the job of supporting them is an endless task. However, with the help of the local, diplomatic, ex-patriate and business communities in Bulgaria we are making some headway.

One thing which we guarantee is that whatever is donated to “One Life Bulgaria” goes directly to helping the children. We are in the fortunate position of being run on a volunteer basis, therefore the only monthly cost we have is the salary of a part-time secretary. We adopt the following policies:

We never give cash to any recipient.
We haggle to get the best deal, if it isn’t the best we haggle again !
We focus only on children
We issue inventories for equipment which is provide
We visit our projects on an ad-hoc basis and check the inventories

We always need extra support to improve the lives of those children who have no chance of doing it themselves and are always encouraging donations.


Many, many thanks for the time you have taken to read the above.

Carl Smith
Chairman
“One Life Bulgaria”

www.onelifebulgaria.org