TV documentaries “Life as It Is” will tell the story of eleven Bulgarian foster families
SOFIA, 12 December 2010 – Today at 11:00 a.m. bTV viewers will get acquainted with the first foster families to feature in the new documentary series Life as It Is – Foster Families. The program is part of the UNICEF campaign on foster care Every Child Wants a Family and the foster care development project in nine regions in the country.
“Our experience has taught us that the best champions of foster care are the foster families themselves. Since foster care is still not very popular in Bulgaria, we wanted to give the families the opportunity to share their experience through the most influential media – television. I would like to thank the foster families who have let the camera of the “Life as It Is” in their homes and shared their personal stories with the viewers,” says Tanja Radocaj, UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria.
Yavor Popov and Milena Budinova, Supernova Media producers, told in detail about the stories we are about to see in Life as It Is: “In 13 consecutive episodes on bTV, we will follow the development of care and the whole foster care process. We will show you the complex relations and relationships between children, foster and biological parents, the strong emotions related to the coming of a new child in the foster parent’s family, the reactions of the children some of whom receive love and warmth for the first time in their lives.” In the familiar positive and infinitely objective tone of the series authors from Supernova Media, the viewers will come to see incredibly moving human stories which otherwise happen around us all the time but, for one reason or another, often remain invisible to all of us.
Special guests of the launch event were representatives of bTV – Reneta Viktorova, Social Support Agency – Iliana Malinova and Yanita Manolova – as well as Nadia Shabani, Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection. They commended the organizers on the wonderful initiative and expressed their gratitude to UNICEF and bTV for popularizing foster care in the country.
Foster Families is a very special project for the producers and directors of Life as It Is. “We believe that these emotional human stories will not only touch the viewers’ hearts deeply but that we will truly manage to convince them that the best thing for every child is to be brought up in a family. To be a foster parent one only needs to open a little space in the heart and bestow on the children the love and warmth which will make them happy,” the program authors have also shared.
The presentation of the new season was also attended by some of the program’s central characters. Here is a part of their stories.
Sultana and Mitko from the town of Bankia are the voluntary foster parents of Slavi, Angel and Elena. A little over a year ago, after their mother suffered from a serious illness, they were left orphaned. The familiar fate of thousands of Bulgarian children awaited them – to be separated and sent to different homes. When they learnt about it, Sultana and Mitko decided to shelter them. They themselves already have three grown-up children and one granddaughter. The program viewers will see how the new parents of Slavi, Angel and Elena are bringing them up in their home, how the family is coping with the tragic loss the children are suffering and what problems they are facing.
Another pair of characters in Life as It Is is Dimitrichka and Angel Angelov from Shumen. They have two grown-up daughters and one grandson. Dimitrichka decided to apply for a foster parent because she had been out of work for a long time and felt useless and inadequate. Little Cecile is one of the children in the Shumen home. She is already three-years old but she cannot even talk. The program camera filmed the first very emotional meeting of Dimitrichka and Cecile exactly on the child’s birthday.
Ana Ganeva and Evgeni Dimitrov from Stara Zagora are parents of two children of their own aged 17 and 9 and agreed to take care of Alexander, aged 3, as well. Ana is a professional foster parent and takes care of her children at home.
Plamen and Anelia Frangov have two grown-up children of their own – Bozhidar who is 25 and Tanya who is 24. Half a year ago, as the mayor of the village of Kosharevo, Pernik region, Plamen got acquainted with the Foster Care project at a municipal session. He and his wife decided that they had the possibility to help an abandoned child giving them their love and warmth and a chance for a better life. Plamen is a former military officer and Neli was made redundant so several years ago they decided to sell their flat in Sofia and live in the village. Their house is large, their children are already grown-up and independent and it was time for them to fulfill the decision to take a child. The camera of Life as It Is follows how Anelia goes through the training and becomes a professional foster parent and, exactly a month ago, the whole family welcomed little Maria as their child and showered her with lots of love.
About the project Every Child Wants a Family:
UNICEF and its non-governmental partners, the International Social Service, the Social Activities and Practices Institute and the Samaritans Association, are working towards creating a uniform regional model for the development of the foster care service and a uniform training program for prospective foster parents and for trainers.
For further information