The House of Opportunity Programme is a network of family-type houses for young people leaving institutions for children deprived of parental care. The programme has been devloping since 2007 and is based on advanced practices from Western Europe adapted to the environment and needs of the young people in Bulgaria.
The House of Opportunity breaks the cycle of abandonment by helping young people brought up in institutional care to gain skills for independent living in order to become dignified and contributing members of our society.
Every house in the programme offers young people 2 years of residential care and support in:
- Finding and keeping a suitable job;
- Managing of personal finances;
- Personal health;
- Development of social skills and skills for building positive and sustainable relationships;
- Adaptation to independent living;
- Ongoing support after leaving the programme;
The programme has a total capacity of 30 places for young people. FSCI is working to establish further houses in the larger regional towns in the country.
With the help of committed volunteers from the local communities House of Opportunity offers the young people a family-like environment. Our teams use various methods of work with the residents such as mentoring, specialized educational programmes, team work and individual development work, informal teaching and more.
FSCI’s fundamental method of work is build a network of partnerships with key institutions, businesses, volunteers and other stakeholders, aiming to bring all resources available together and to maximize the outcomes on both the local and national level.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
For more information about the House of Opportunity and how you can get involved, please do not hesitate to contact us.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
According to statistics of the Agency for Social Assistance, by the end of December 2016:
- 2810 children and adolescents in Bulgaria are accommodated in residential services (2016),
- 2320 children were raised in foster families as of 31.12.2017,
- and 5927 children were raised in the family of relatives or relatives (31.12.2016).
According to this statistics, a total of 11,057 children and adolescents are grown up in alternative care, with approximately 500 of them leaving state care each year and starting their incependent living. About 45% of these young people have elementary or lower education, and 47% have secondary education. (Deyana Kostadinova, Secretary of the Head of State for Social Policies, Youth and Sports, Initiative “Support a Dream” 2013)
The state as a legal guardian bares responsibility for them until they become 18.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ABANDONED CHILDREN BECOME ADULTS?
When they become 18 (or when they graduate from secondary school), young people from institutions have to take their lives in their own hands. The state has no legal obligation to continue to support them in any way. The institutional care system in Bulgaria has an insufficient capacity to preparethem for this step. Thus they end up unable to:
- look for a job and adapt to working environment;
- find accommodation;
- manage a household;
- manage their finances;
- build positive relationships;
This makes these young people very vulnerable. Girls as well as a great number of boys are easily brought to prostitution, international human trafficking networks, sex trade, etc. Begging, crime and other abusive behaviours become the only way to survive for many, destroying the individual and our society.