Two US-funded playgrounds for children with special educational needs inaugurated in Bulgaria’s Varna

Playgrounds at two kindergartens for children with special educational needs have been inaugurated in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city Varna following renovations made possible with $205 000 United States government funding.

The inauguration was attended by US ambassador Eric Rubin, Varna mayor Ivan Portnih, Briz Kindergarten Director Lidia Kancheva, and US defence attaché Colonel Shannon Johnson, the US embassy to Bulgaria said on April 3.

“We are here today to inaugurate a project which is a bright example of how our combined efforts can make a real and lasting difference for the youngest citizens of Bulgaria,” Rubin said at the opening of the renovated Briz Kindergarten playground in Varna.

Both N20, Briz Logopedic Kindergarten and N9, Alen Mak Kindergarten serve children with special education needs. The schools provide daily help to 205 children with chronic diseases and special education needs.

Schools serving special needs students require playgrounds tailored to the students’ abilities, and must meet all safety and educational requirements, the US embassy statement said.

“These two projects are a result of the combined efforts of our strong US-Bulgaria partnership, and of the passionate hard work and dedication of many individuals who came together to make this possible,” Rubin said.

The history of Briz Kindergarten is a window into Bulgarian history, the US embassy statement said.

In 1930 the Andzhelo Kuyumdzhiyski family built a home and grounds overlooking the Black Sea.

In November 1948, from Paris, Angel Kuyumdzhiyski donated the villa specifically “as an establishment for medical treatment of children predisposed to tuberculosis.”

In 1949 the property was nationalised and until 1992 used for different purposes, including as the residence of the local top communist functionary.

In 1992 Varna’s municipal city government declared that the property would again be used in accordance with the will of the donor and would accommodate children suffering from contact with tuberculosis and other chronic lung diseases.

Since that date the property has been used as originally intended when it was donated. The two-storey building contains a school for children from three to seven years of age.

The building includes a detached Montessori room for work with children with special educational needs. The home’s original architectural style, as well as functional, constructive, and artistic details are preserved.

“The US Mission to Bulgaria is proud to honor the Kuyumdzhiyski family donation by funding play structures that enhance Briz Kindergarten” the embassy said.

The US government has invested $6 million USD in local projects supporting Bulgaria’s social and economic development strategy, the statement said.

Since 2010, the US government has invested about $6 million in Humanitarian Assistance projects in Bulgaria. The Humanitarian Assistance Program brings together American military personnel and Bulgarian municipalities to collaborate on significant projects.

Under this program, the US government also partners with non-governmental organizations and local Bulgarian firms to carry out projects in accordance with Bulgaria’s social and economic development strategy, the embassy said.

(Photos: Provided by the US embassy)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.