Author: Eye on Bulgaria

A Hand Up At Concordia

Marrying help to a good work ethic is key to success at one of Sofia’s leading NGOs for deprived youngsters When I last visited the Concordia Foundation* in 2010 the atmosphere was one of fragile hopes and dashed dreams. Government funding was non-existent, the building was dark and decaying and many of the “residents” were delinquent street kids for whom “living on the edge” was a stubborn life choice.  Even the area, a run-down industrial zone of Sofia, seemed dangerous and threatening. Photographs of the fallen – mostly haunted, emaciated, hollow-eyed adolescents cut down by drugs – stared out...

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Life in the Zoo

A teacher tells of a grim year in a Bulgarian state school Would any Westerner agree to work a 35-hour week in a state school, full of unruly children, for just 600 leva (300 euro) a month? The pay and conditions would be deemed derisory – even a sick joke – by most people. Sadly, as one teacher reveals, the situation is made even more stressful by the heavy paperwork, the need to impose discipline “at any price”, and parents’ unrealistic expectations. No wonder then that staff turnover is extremely high and most teachers are “of a certain age”...

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