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Big Picture

By March 7, 2024March 22nd, 2024House of Opportunity

Leah’s mother suffered serious mental health issues and lived out her days on the streets, so little Leah was taken into the Bulgarian care system at a very early age. At the age of 18 it was time for Leah to leave the institution and face life as an adult, but she wasn’t really ready for it at all.

Leah loves to draw and had some idea that she would like to make use of her talent in some way, but she desperately needed support to help her make the most of the opportunities open to her. Without a family, this would not just be hard, but likely impossible. Leah couldn’t see how to make the picture of the life she had in her head a reality.

Thankfully, Leah was able to come into the House of Opportunity in summer 2023, where she found exactly what she needed. After a lot of discussion about what specialty she wanted to study, Leah chose “Informal Education” at Sofia University. Now her work would begin.

“As a consequence of growing up in alternative care, Leah did not have a realistic view of adulthood, of her strengths and weaknesses, or how she might begin to follow her dreams”, says FSCI Bulgaria Social Work Manager, Niki Zlatev. “In the beginning it seemed that Leah was not motivated and would find it difficult to cope with her studies. We are happy that after half a year spent in the House of Opportunity, Leah successfully completed the first semester of her education. In addition, she has started working shifts at a restaurant and recently made her first contribution to the savings she wants to raise while in the House. Leah is another proof that the right support can help a young person develop their own plans and follow their own dreams”.

Leah’s life picture is coming into clarity. However, things don’t look so good for too many of the young people drifting out of Southeast Europe’s state care systems. Many find themselves exploited and used by those who have only their own profit in mind.

The House of Opportunity Programme provides dozens of young people like Leah with hope and positive options every year. Perhaps this is not so many in scheme of things, but we hope that you will see the bigger picture with us and help to provide more opportunities for young people at risk from extreme poverty and modern slavery.