UNICEF & Bulgarian Embassy Establish New Center for Children with Disabilities
On December 23, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Bulgarian Embassy in Georgia and UNICEF to establish a day care center for children with disabilities in Borjomi.
Set to open in the summer of 2017, this will be the only such center in the whole region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
The Bulgarian government will provide funding, while UNICEF will work on the concept of the day care center, renovate and equip the building, provide technical assistance in the provision of care for children with disabilities and build the capacities of the professionals working with the children.
The center will be established in partnership with local NGO Together for Real Change and the McLain Association for Children which will provide specific services for the children with disabilities.
There are in total 24 centers in big cities throughout the country, nowhere near enough to meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Children with disabilities in Georgia are among the most vulnerable groups in society and have the right to be protected and to develop. All children in need and their families should have access to necessary services.
The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs will provide state vouchers to run the day care center and the building will be allocated by the Ministry of Economy. The center will also be supported by the Municipality of Borjomi and will be able to work with 65 children.
“Bulgaria and Georgia enjoy excellent relations and Bulgaria continues to be a committed partner. I am glad that, somewhat as a Christmas present, we are signing this agreement, which is addressing one of the most vulnerable groups in society - children with disabilities. I've been in touch with families in Borjomi and know first hand how needed this project is," said Dessilava Ivanova, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Georgia.
This is the second largest project Bulgaria has supported in Georgia, along with the joint Bulgarian- Georgian - US project on food safety. USD 140,000 of the USD 280,000 is provided by Bulgaria in the framework of its Development Cooperation Policy, while the US side provides financing under the umbrella of the Emerging Donors Challenge Fund, a US State Department initiative in support of the transition to democracy and market economy in countries in South Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia.