Ivanka Angelova is 20 years old and she dreams to become a masseuse.
Ivanka remembers very clearly the moment when her mother left her and her sister Greta at an orphanage after their father’s death. The major part of their lives was spent at the orphanage in the town of Berkovitsa and she studied at the ‘slow school’ there. After she turned eighteen, in 2011, she entered the House of Opportunity in Skravena.
Did something change with you after you left the orphanage?
Many things have changed. When I came for the interview at the House of Opportunity I couldn’t speak, I didn’t say a word, I was even afraid that you were not going to accept me. I was rejected from all other places I applied and I was afraid that I was going to be left on the street. Now I can talk, I am more confident. Here, I have learnt to cook, to help in the garden and I try to keep my own room clean.
You say you could have been left on the street. Do you know what expected you out there?
I have no idea but I have heard of rapes and kidnappings- scary, very scary things.
How do you feel away from these dangers?
I am fine here. I get along with Mr. Petkov and “Mommy” (Mrs. Todorova) very well. Here I can understand how a family works- we support each other and I feel good.
Do you think about your own family? Do you have plans for the future?
It is too early for a family for me. I am not in a hurry. Right now I want to sign in for a masseuse course. This has been my dream since I was a child. I had one opportunity but I missed the deadline. I hope to have another chance.
Meanwhile you work at the Soap Workshop. How does this help you?
At first I was in charge of packaging and I was afraid I would not be able to cope with it. Now I take part in more activities and I am learning. I like it. I am picking up new skills and this will help me in the future. Moreover, I am a part of something meaningful and important and I am not bored.
Ivanka and Nikolay, who also grew up at the orphanage in Berkovitsa, are now under the same roof at the House of Opportunity. Every month they visit the local Labour Bureau in the town of Botevgrad, hoping to find a permanent job or a suitable qualification course.