I dream of being independent, playing with my daughter, enjoying her

Maria is 54 years and lives in Plovdiv. Nine years ago she made the important decision to foster a child. She is convinced in her decision to help a child from home and to provide him with a future different from that of children who have no parents or are left by their biological parents to the general care of the state. So fate meets her with Sylvia. Maria is committed to the care of her daughter, who quickly grew attached to her.

Everything in their family goes well, until Maria’s stroke chained her to bed for three years. Maria is forced to combine her efforts to raise her child with the daily care of her bed-stricken mother. Dedication to her family prevents her from full-time employment, which makes it harder for her to earn her family’s income. At the end of December 2014 Maria’s mother deceased.

She and Silvia recover from the heavy loss and continue ahead. At one point, however, Maria fell ill – the sharp knee pain caused by a broken nerve completely immobilized her. Sylvia, aged 9 at the time, in turn took care of her mother: she helps her feed, as she also suffers from diabetes, does shopping and house chores for her. At the same time she is studying hard for school. “She sings amazingly. It looks like she have problems with mathematics, but she is very diligent, “says Maria and her face is shining with joy.

In June 2016, Maria is admitted to hospital for a brief rehabilitation that gives her hope that one day she can move again freely. “I dream to be independent, to play with my daughter, to enjoy her,” Maria says. She and Sylvia live on BGN 35 a month, they do not receive any support from the state institutions. They see help from good neighbors, who collect money from their scarce resources to pay for their electricity and water. They share their food. Since the summer of 2016, the family is also visited by nurses and volunteers from the Caritas Home Care Center in Plovdiv, who help Maria prepare and submit all the necessary documents to the Social Assistance Directorate and TEMC.

Caritas co-workers, nurses Oblatki, the Assumption Fathers and the parishioners of the Ascension of the Lord constantly help Maria and Sylvia. In their face the mother and daughter meet friends who can share their pains and joys. Friends who help them feel the joy of life again.

Thanks to one of the charity events organized by parishioners, Sylvia received a donation to prepare for the first school day. The Caritas volunteers, with their donations, engage to ensure that the girl, who is eager to share the student moments – new knowledge, new friendships and, of course, new smiles – has everything of need. Sylvia chose the notebooks, the school supplies she would need for the school year, she also got new clothing and sneakers to run at will.

“I do not want to rely on state support. One day I will start work again,” Maria promises. Today, her desire to work is a fact. It is possible thanks to the cooperation of Caritas Plovdiv and the print shop Bulvest Print, which took Maria among its employees, providing daily service to take her to the workplace.

“If it were not the help of our neighbors, Caritas and the people in the printing press, I would have collapsed. I thank them for helping me live so much and for providing a good childhood to my daughter, as she deserves,” Maria says, and a slight smile brightens her face.