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Ukrainian festival (28.08.2022)

Nearly 40 thousand children from Ukraine have found a temporary home in Bulgaria together with their families. They all need to continue their lives in a way as close as possible to the lives they had in their homeland. This means that it is very important for the children to attend kindergartens and schools, to make new friends and to integrate as easily and quickly as possible. In order to join the Bulgarian education system, Ukrainian children must meet the health requirements that are mandatory for all Bulgarian children.

The Ukrainian Festival, which took place in the South Park in Sofia on 28 August, was a good opportunity for Astra Forum Foundation to promote the cause of including Ukrainian children in the Bulgarian education system, and during the festival we distributed information materials related to the corresponding health requirements.  This is a continuation of our activities of the last month when we managed to hold over 20 meetings with Ukrainian refugees in the districts of Varna, Dobrich and Burgas. During these sessions we discussed in detail all the necessary medical examinations and vaccinations that are mandatory for a child to be admitted to a Bulgarian kindergarten or school. This mission was carried out by Astra Forum Foundation with the support of UNICEF and WHO offices in Bulgaria and in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the PHARE Foundation. The initiative is part of UNICEF’s #Back2School campaign. The brochure, prepared by the Astra Forum Foundation especially for the information meetings, is extremely useful and practical. It is written in Ukrainian and is available digitally, in addition to the paper version (the brochure is available here in Bulgarian and Ukrainian).

We are extremely happy that in addition to the important information campaign we held on 28 August in Sofia, we were able to support the participation in the festival of 30 Ukrainian children temporarily accommodated at the Black Sea coast. This was achieved in partnership with the humanitarian Ukrainian association in Bulgaria “Oranta”.  The talented painters are winners in various categories of talent competitions held in Varna earlier this summer.  Their beautiful children’s souls are embodied in the wonderful drawings that were shown at the exhibition in the Bulgarian capital. No one can remain indifferent to these drawings. These are pictures of prayer and hope. All the money raised from the charity exhibition will be used for the benefit of the children.

Astra Forum Foundation had the privilege to get to know the talent of these children. We are impressed by their strong spirit and desire to develop their artistic skills in difficult times in another country. That is why we supported them in their wish to participate in the Ukrainian Festival in the capital and undertook the task to provide transportation for them, their parents and their tutors from Varna to Sofia. We could not resist buying some of these drawings so that they would inspire us every day for work dedicated to worthy causes.

The cooperation between the Astra Forum Foundation and the Oranta Association is expanding. During the information meetings with Ukrainian families held on the Black Sea coast they helped us distribute the materials and promote the events. We were united in the mission to share opportunities to integrate Ukrainian children into the Bulgarian education system.

The Ukrainian Festival in Sofia was a gift to the capital from the Ukrainian community, as a sign of gratitude for the help and support provided in these difficult days.

During the festival, the Bulgarian audience met with Ukrainian craftswomen and got acquainted with their crafts. Workshops on Ukrainian art were held for all guests. The festival featured various exhibitions related to Ukrainian culture. And in the evening, the organizers treated all guests to a musical concert! In the first part of the performance Ukrainians and Ukranian children sang Ukrainian and Bulgarian songs. Famous Bulgarian and Ukrainian bands took part in the final part of the festival.

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