Support The Unsupported: Social Campaign For a Better Change in Bulgaria for Senior Citizens and Disabled People

by Mihaela Voydenova and Donald Xhoxhaj

During the Spring 2021 semester, just like last year, students taking the Social Policy and Politics in the EU course worked in groups on socially-oriented campaigns. In their presentations and campaign descriptions they were to outline the rationale for your campaign; measures / actions that the campaign will involve; its target audience as well as its projected outcomes. On the course’s website, we will present some of their ideas in the form of separate entries.

This Social campaign ‘Support the Unsupported’ aims to assist the people in need of healthcare services and assistance. We are focusing on the ones who live in the rural areas and cannot afford to visit their GP, get the medication they need and receive a proper treatment. There are 409 villages in Bulgaria, which are inhabited by less than ten people. Furthermore, there are 69 villages inhabited by 1 person like the Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo rural area. Even though there are social benefits for the senior citizens and the disabled people, a large number of these two target groups are unable to make use of the long term care programs or the social benefit packages that are being offered. Our goal is to provide them with assistance for their vital needs.

What our campaign has to offers is a number of actions, which will result in longer life span and decrease in the stress levels among seniors/disabled people. The five main objectives are:

  • Provide healthcare services by building an emergency room which will be fully equipped and there will be a doctor on duty during the workweek.
  • Provide an ambulance if it is not possible to arrange an emergency room. The ambulance is a great option too as it will also be equipped and if there is an urgent situation, the person in need of help can be quickly transported to the nearest hospital.
  • Provide a mobile pharmacy, which will collect the medication orders from the villages and later deliver the purchases. If a certain village is not accessible by car due to weather conditions we can offer the same service, carried out by drones.
  • Assistants that will be available for household tasks or to provide company for one to two hours.
  • Raise awareness of the issue that Bulgaria is dealing with, by organizing informational campaigns, charity bazars and distribution of pamphlets in order to popularize the campaign and include the regular citizens into it.

The target audience of the “Support the Unsupported” campaign could be anyone. From high school/ university students to average working people that can volunteer as assistants or donate money for the campaign’s budget. We could also present the campaign to independent clubs like Interact, Rotary or Lions club, which all help to provide humanitarian services or donate to such initiatives.

As for how the campaign will be financed – it will be a co-financed project between the Bulgarian government and the European Union. The plan is to apply for European project, which will help to partially finance the campaign and the rest of the budget will come from the Government. It is important to mention that this initiative is planned as a permanent project, which will be developed through time.

The main project outcome will be the fact that these target groups will have their voice heard and live a happier, healthier life with less stress that can otherwise affect their current health conditions.