Fun in the sun

Trip Start Aug 15, 2011
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
House of Joshua

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofia Region,
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today the team visited the Roma camp at Skravena. Only about half the kids who live there were home but we had a great time together as Pete did his juggling stuff- including the very scary fire diablo. You don't ever want to get it wrong with one of these things. With temperatures resolutley staying in the 35C+ bracket all this activity made for a very hot morning.

Around 10% of the population of Bulgaria live in conditions like the ones you see in the pictures. There really are no easy solutions to the problems, predjudices and tensions that exist between Roma people and the self referring "white" Bulgarians. Decades of segredation and degredation have taken thier toll: there now exists a huge gap in the living standards and expectations between the two groups and for all the programmes and cash aimed at integration this seems unlikely to shrink any time soon.

The Trussell Trust takes an interest in individuals- the House of Opportunity Programme helps many young people abandoned by their Roma families and we seek to give them positive choices and so hopefully their kids will never have to live in places like these pictured here or face the trauma of being left in a state run institution. Many of the children on the Summer Camp are Roma too so we have a chance to help these kids at an earlier stage. The fact that they go to Lipnitsa School gives them a better start than most Roma kids as the school's director, Mr Petkov, has long advocated education as the best way to help these children have a chance at a better future.

This evening we had a party for Niki, one of our newest HoJ residents. Niki has had such a torrid time in state institutions that he cannot read or write. In addition to having some good food we gave him a childrens Bible to help him learn to read. Veneta, HoJ's house-parent, is also a primary school teacher and she has set a goal for Niki to be reading fluently this time next year.

Tomorrow the team has to get on the coach with the Lipnitsa kids and make tracks for Kranevo, on the Black Sea coast. An 03.30 start and then a seven hour bus ride with a group of children who are more prone than most to extended bouts of travel sickness. Rather us than you?
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shaun hill on

Looking forward to seeing all you guys on sunday!!! Keep up the good work and may God bless you all in so many ways :)

Love, shaun!x

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