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Student volunteers make a difference in Bulgaria

12 July 2011

BU students in Bulgaria by a wall mural they painted BU students volunteer support to two orphanages in Bulgaria.

A group of students from BU have returned from Bulgaria where they gave their time and enthusiasm in support of two orphanages.

The seven students and three team leaders split their 10-day trip between The Pink House and Hope Orphanage. Each volunteer raised nearly £1,100 to enable them to go on the trip, organised by the Students’ Union’s volunteering organisation, The Hub, and gap year and volunteering company Gap Force.

The Pink House is home to eight severely disabled children aged between eight and twenty. Each child suffers from varying degrees of autism, slow development and various other disabilities. The volunteers spent four days renovating the garden by painting the entire surrounding fence in bright colours, repainting the gazebo and brightening up the pavement tiles. They also completely redecorated three of the children’s bedrooms, making them a warmer and more stimulating environment, as well as helping the carers look after the children. The Pink House only has enough funding for two staff to look after the eight children at a time.

Hope Orphanage is home to over forty children aged between three and seven. Whilst at Hope, the volunteers painted a 20 metre long mural on the wall surrounding the playground and taught the kids nursery rhymes and dances, and then spent a morning face painting the kids, which they absolutely loved.

The seven students  fundraised by face painting at Bournemouth’s Student Union events, holding multiple cake sales, staff car washes as well as donations from generous sponsors, including BU Alumni. A couple of the girls managed to raise £650 over their target which was spent whilst in Bulgaria on the children. The Pink House needed underwear, pyjamas and tracksuit bottoms and for Hope the money was spent on scooters, bikes ‘hop hop balls’ and sets of buckets and spades to take on their summer holiday trip to the seaside. A toy collection had also been held within BU which allowed the volunteers to give out numerous toys, books and clothes to the children, who couldn’t believe they were getting presents.

The head mistress at Hope orphanage said, “Thanks to you, during your visit, the children at Hope Orphanage have had a happy and emotionally positive experience and the murals that you did have created a more enjoyable environment for them. We would also like to express our gratitude for the toys and the scooters, which the children love! It has also been beneficial for them socially that they made new friends from England and they now have the hope that these friends will come to play again next year!”

The Director at the Pink House said “It has been a great pleasure having the girls help with the children and also make the Pink house a better place to live! The fence looks great in the new colours and the children’s rooms are amazing! And Pepe doesn’t stop showing off his beautiful room with the wall paintings to everyone who visits!”

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