Bulgarian Christmas charity campaign gathers 1.7M leva

The annual Bulgarian Christmas campaign has gathered 1.7 million leva in donations this year, President Rossen Plevneliev’s office said in a statement. The campaign ended with the traditional December 25 charity concert at Ivan Vazov national theatre, featuring dozens of Bulgarian entertainers.

It was the tenth year of the annual campaign, started during the first term of previous president Georgi Purvanov, with the goal of gathering funds for helping child hospitals and sick children. Over the period, the campaign has gathered more than 19.5 million leva, used to buy equipment for 150 medical facilities throughout the country, the Presidency’s media service said.

This year’s campaign – the first of Plevneliev’s term, who took office in January – focused on collecting donations that would go towards helping children with neurological disorders, mainly cerebral palsy.

This is a trend that the Presidency, alongside NGOs, plans to continue in the coming years, Boryana Kirilova of Bulgarian Donors Forum told news website Mediapool.bg

“The goal is to look at the problem and seek the most efficient solutions, so that we the next year there is no need to collect donations for the same cause. We still believe, however, that Bulgarian Christmas should not be a charity campaign by the presidential institution,” she was quoted as saying.

Overall, 2012 brought an increase in donations to charities, Kirilova said, partially in response to natural disasters like the deadly flooding in Harmanli in February or the earthquake in Pernik in May. Separately, more than 860 000 text donations were sent to Bulgaria’s donations hotline, more than double compared to 2011, a sign of strong campaigns this year, she said.

Earlier this year, Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided to exempt text donations from value-added tax. “It was the culmination of a five-year struggle that the Bulgarian Donors Forum and our partner organisations have led,” Kirilova said.

(Plevneliev, centre, at the charity concert wrapping up this year’s Bulgarian Christmas campaign. Photo: president.bg)



The Sofia Globe staff

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