Now this orphanage is closed, 41 babies and toddlers have families to love them

Scores of babies were confined to the Yambol orphanage in Bulgaria before its closure in September 2018

This is the Yambol orphanage in Bulgaria – an institution for children under the age of three.

In 2016, when Hope and Homes for Children began work to close the facility, 41 babies and toddlers were struggling to survive here without any of the love and individual care all young children so desperately need.

Our team in Bulgaria worked tirelessly for two years to find the right alternative care for every one of the children in the orphanage. And in September 2018, when the last child left to join a loving family, Yambol was closed for good.

Georgi is one of the children who is now growing up with parents and grandparents to care for him as a result.

Like the majority of children living in orphanages around the world today, Georgi was not an orphan. He had a family who loved him but they were struggling to make ends meet on his grandfather’s pension and the little money his father earned working as a casual laborer.

When Georgi fell ill with pneumonia, rather than support his family to cope, the authorities decided Georgi would be better off in the orphanage.

80 years of research now exist to show how damaging it is for babies and very young children to grow up in institutions, without the love and care of a dedicated parent figure.

Even in well-resourced, well-meaning orphanages, staff working in shifts cannot hope to provide children with the individual love and attention that they so desperately need.

Evidence shows that for every three months that a baby spends in an orphanage, they lose a month of their normal development.

This could have been Georgi’s fate: clothed and fed but never cuddled, never comforted and never cherished.

Instead, we worked with Georgi’s parents to improve their living conditions and find steady work so that they could provide a secure home for their son. We helped them fight the system and bring Georgi home again to grow up in a home where he knows that he is loved.