The Bulgarian ombudsman Maya Manolova awarded an honorary plaque to the Know How Center for Alternative Care for Children, NBU, for 30 years of social work education during the International Social Work Day, 20th March 2019. The same event announced the opening of a new Master's Program "Psycho-Social Interventions for Children and Families" at the New Bulgarian University. You can read excerpts from the ombudsman's speech here:
For the KHC and the challenging process of deinstitutionalization:
"I must say good words of great gratitude to the team of the Know-How Center for the Alternative Care for Children, NBU - partnership, friendship and support in the first place. I cannot miss sharing a memory of the way I took office as an ombudsman. In fact, the first major challenge I faced was the social reform of the deinstitutionalization of childcare. Then, before I learned to confidently and correctly pronounce this complex word, the people of the Know-How Center actually became my first teachers. They taught me about the problems of children in institutions and their stories, that it is not enough to move a child from one major to another smaller building and claim that it returned to society. In fact, comfortable furnishings do not turn a room or a building into a home"
On the Master's programme and the importance and valor of social work:
"With your work, by changing, by solving one man's problems, you change the world of this man, and in this sense you are changing worlds. And in order for this to happen, there is more incentive for people to join the new Master's programme to study social activities at your university, I think the responsibility and very important role belongs to the Social Ministry. I am glad that Mr. Petkov is here, I am using the opportunity to urge him to take part in the provision and especially the retention of the motivation of the students from this Master's degree, and in general of the training in social activities - the motivation of those who work on the field. It is high time for the prestige, the attitude, the standard of this profession to be changed, to be elevated to a higher level, and of course it goes with the evaluation of this work"
You can find the full source article on the Ombudsman's website in Bulgarian HERE.