A sad end,a new beginning.

Trip Start Aug 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 30, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofia Region,
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today Mimi and I went to investigate reports that the Roma Community in Botevgrad that many of the children on our Summer Camp came from had been destroyed.

The houses are still there but will be destoyed tomorrow. Many of the families that called this place home have moved to the local villages of Vrachesh and Litikovo. Four or five families have clubbed together to buy some land in another local village, Trudovits. Here they will build "houses"  (probably fairly crude shacks with little or no insulation) and will no doubt face the kind of opposition and treatment that they have been used to all their lives in other places. It is always the same for gypsies everywhere.
Our heart is for the children here. The Roma community in Botevgrad was a pretty nasty, dangerous place as regular Trust supporters will know. We have worked here before, both through our Christmas Box projects and most memorably for me, our Roofing Project in 2008 which helped to keep 50 children free from damp and cold for the last two winters. Sad to say that the Trust staff are probably the closest thing to friends that these people have. Despite the general unpleasantness of the place it is still the closest thing to a home outside of Lipnitsa that the children have and now they are being forced to leave. We met Ani, who at 20 days old, is about to become homeless.

There may be a silver lining here. More of the children here will probably now go to Lipnitsa school where they can get food, shelter and vital education. We met two mums who said as much to us so perhaps Helena will be able to escape more of the kind of beatings that we witnessed whilst we visited. Helena is just six years old and she lost her mum to cancer two years ago. Now she tells us that her step mother beats her if she asks for more food. We believe her, we have seen it ourselves.

Increased numbers of kids at Lipnitsa means more pressure on the already thin food budget so expect to see The Trussell Trust providing funds to help these children over the winter, both for everyday food needs and the now more needed then ever winter camp.

Another piece of good news is that Lubo the pimp, one of the hardest to love peole you are ever likely to meet, is now in jail for loan sharking. Hopefully this will keep the likes of Vaska, one of the eldest girls on the camp, out of his clutches for a while longer yet.

I really wanted to end his years blog on a more positive note but all I can say is that God loves His children and although our response to that may seem insufficient we can say that for the last ten days the children of Lipnitsa/Orphanage School have felt loved and cared for, have been protected from the outside world and well fed.

None of that would be possible without your support. Thank you.

Rich Parsons
Bulgaria Operations Manager
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