Bulgaria’s first day care centre for children of Ukrainian refugees opens in Plovdiv

Bulgaria’s first day centre for children of Ukrainian refugees has opened in the country’s second city Plovdiv, Bulgarian National Television reported on May 28.

The opening comes as the end of the programme for hotel accommodation for Ukrainians who have temporary protection in Bulgaria nears, to be succeeded by a system whereby those who want accommodation will be housed in state facilities and hotels, which will receive a lesser sum for accommodating the Ukrainians.

The day care centre is in a room in a former kindergarten, which Plovdiv municipality has made available in return for a peppercorn rent.

The centre was renovated and fully furnished with the help of donors and volunteers.

There are 18 Ukrainian refugee children at the centre, who are cared for by two educators from Ukraine.

The parents of the children who are attending the day care centre have already found work. But some mothers will also stay at the centre for the first few days, the report said.

Natalia Ellis, of the foundation providing support, told BNT: “There are children who are very scared after fleeing, after these sirens, after everything that happened in Ukraine, so we allow mothers to stay as long as possible for a few days, one or two weeks with the children, for them to get used to the situation”.

In addition to learning the language, the children must get used to Bulgarian cuisine.

“We have signed a catering contract and they will eat the same food as other children in kindergartens and so we will gradually include them in the process of integration into the Bulgarian community and culture,” Ellis said.

Retired teachers from Plovdiv will help with learning the language, so that after catching up with immunisations, Ukrainian children can safely visit municipal kindergartens.

In a few days, another day children’s centre will open in Plovdiv.

The renovation of the former Lung Hospital, which will become a place for temporary accommodation of refugees, is nearing completion, the report said. There will be 53 rooms, each with three beds.

(Screenshots via BNT)

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