ON COMING ACTIVITIES AND CAMPAIGNS 2001

• Financing the publishing of a brochure, called “To the children with love”, after the idea of the Municipal Social Support Service, explaining to the parents of children with disabilities their rights and obligations and how to react in particular situations;
• Financing of the play “This is me, this is you” by Orlin Dyakov with his engagement to put out a children’s play, at the performance of which the children from Home “R. Gateva”, Home “Nadejda”, Home “D. Basarbovski” will be invited;
• The foundation is engaged to support the organization of the International festival “March Music Days” 2001 in Rousse.

First international chess championship “Pristis”
The organized chess movement in Rousse started in 1931, and the chess clubs “Dunav” and “Pristis” are now the heirs of this 70-years’ tradition. During that time many famous people have worked in the clubs of Rousse. Their names have become legendary. Among them are: Andrey Malchev- an outstanding competitor, international category referee, head referee for the match for the world chess crown between Gari Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov (Moscow, 1985); Zdravko Milev – the first Bulgarian to have won an international championship (Bucharest, 1952). However, one thing is for sure – Rousse and the school of Rousse created the greatest Bulgarian chess-player ever - Vesselin Topalov.
For the last few years chess club “Pristis” has started intensive activity among the students of Rousse. As a result of the good cooperation among the managing body of the club, the trainers, parents and children, a number of championship titles and medals from national and regional tournaments were won. Some players take part in world and European championships too. Among the best are Tatyana Plachkinova, Nevena Nikolova, Dimitar Roev, Vladimir Tedeski, etc.
For the last year a new generation has sprung up, shaping the international profile and the image of the Rousse chess-player. Out of the awarded grants by the foundation chess-players, Rostislav Raev rates 7th in the world with 7.5 points (ELO 2071), Elitsa Raeva is 16th in the world with 6.5 points (ELO 2158) in the respective age groups.
The organizing of the First international chess championship “Pristis” with a total award fund of 10 000 DM was the logical continuation of the up-going sports traditions of Rousse’s Chess Movement at an international level. The tournament will be organized by the Bulgarian Chess Federation under the aegis of the governor of Rousse region and with a main host – “Bistra and Galina” Foundation, who will provide most of the award fund. One of its objectives is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the organized chess society in Rousse. The tournament will most probably be held from 1st to 15th June 2001 on the Swiss system of 9 rounds with a fast finish – 2 hours’ personal time per a competitor.

WE ARE EXPECTING DONORS READY TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL AID FOR ENLARGING THE AWARD FUND FOR THE TOURNAMENT
Day center for integrated education
Filling up a niche in the social regional policy, by providing an alternative to the isolation of children with mental problems from 16 to 35 years old in the Rousse region. The Secondary Professional Technical School for Machine-building (SPTSM) “Atanas Burov” – Rousse is partner of the “Bistra and Galina” Foundation and basic establishment unit, where the present project is being accomplished. Other organizations and institutions related to the initiative are Municipality – Rousse – Department “International Collaboration and Education”; the Inspectorate of Education at the Ministry of Science and Education – Rousse; Special Kindegarten “Zora”, experts- psychiatrists from the Hospital for Mental Diseases – Rousse, “RALIZ” association.
The idea for the introduction of integrated education in the school comes from a broadcast of the TV center – Rousse, in which parents of children, who have finished 8th class of the helping schools in Rousse put forward the problem, in connection with the lack of opportunities for the children with mental defects to acquire a profession, to be among people of their age and leave the isolation of their homes. The inactivity and the lack of contacts additionally burden the children emotionally and retard their mental development. The establishment of a Center for Labor Therapy and Rehabilitation of Children and Youth with Oligophrenia I and II Degree is intended to be a part of the school, because after the family it is the most powerful socializing institution. The integration of the students and the young people with oligophrenia (in the afternoon activities) is an attempt for their further integration in wider social groups and communities.
The mainstream school is the place where the children with mental disabilities are placed in different surroundings and meet many children of their age. The young people quickly find a way to live and study in one school. They treat each other as friends and coevals.

150 girls and boys with disabilities aged 16 to 28 are currently studying at the seven classes of SPTSM. Most of them come from poor families. Their motivation to acquire professional skills and be among their peers is great.

The preliminary research made with the parents and the children shows their will to have also other salient occupations in the afternoon, when the school lessons have finished. Currently there are only sports games in the schoolyard, football competitions with their younger schoolmates from the helping schools (“Dr. P. Beron” and “St. St. Kiril and Metodii”). There is no equipment that can provide a complex of rehabilitation activities useful for their health and development. Although it is set up in the school, which the children with oligophrenia love and visit willingly, that base of new premises must be of different standard from the one of a regular classroom. The Center for Therapy and Rehabilitation for Children and Adolescents with I and II Degree of Oligophrenia from16 to 35 years old will be a magnet unit. There the children from the school and many other young people with similar problems from Rousse, who do not visit school, but have will and ambition for integration, will be able to spend their free time and socialize.
Now there isn’t an orderly system to encompass the children with oligophrenia from Rousse and the region. At the Special kindergarten “Zora” there are activities organized for the children with special needs aged 3-8. At the moment a project is being developed for the encompassing of children with oligophrenia aged 8 to 16 in a boarding house for temporary staying for the holidays. The young people aged 16 to 35 with mental disabilities are still isolated from normal human relationships.

Yearly 30-35 children aged 16-17 graduate from the two helping schools. The number of patients of the Hospital for Mental Diseases includes also 20-25 people up to the age of 35. Thus the youth not included in the program turn into a social problem and need care according to theirs and their parents’ wish.

At a more distant perspective, labor therapy, combined with acquiring professional and lifestyle skills could be promoted in other regions of the country so that the resistance of society against integrating the disabled and their social realization can be overcome.

During the past year 2000, the foundation financed independently the architectural project for the above mentioned Center. Part of the funds for its realization - 15 000 levs were raised as a result of the successful charity campaigns.

WE ARE EXPECTING DONORS READY TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL AID FOR THE BUILDING OF THE CENTRE FOR INTEGRATED EDUCATION

The “Peace alternatives to conflicts through education” Project.

The work goes on the long-term UNESCO financed project of the School Association for Global Education. In 2001 international summer camps will be organized for the participant-countries from southeastern Europe. Together with the National UNESCO Committee for Bulgaria and MES, “Open Society” Club, the “Bistra and Galina” Foundation is an equal partner for the oncoming initiatives of the “Classrooms across borders” project.

“Classrooms across borders” Project.

Financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, under the Stability Pact of the EC, with head coordinator – Mrs. Yordanka Nenova – president of SAGE. After the launching meeting, held in Rousse in December 2000 hosted by the “Bistra and Galina” Hotel and Foundation, in March 2001 the project is entering its crucial stage. In March 2001, in Sofia, the next meeting of the coordinators from the 12 participating countries will be held – Albania, Rumania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo District, and Bulgaria. The main topic for discussion will be next-year’s plan for distant language learning and adjusting to foreign cultures. Partner of SAGE is the team of experts of the Foundation.