The photo exhibition raised half the funds for a new special swing for disadvantaged children.
11 November, 2019
Anna Yoncheva is an amateur photographer from Veliko Turnovo and a mother of two. He works as a technical assistant at a foreign company. Her purely human sense of empathy prompts her to create the “Different Children of Bulgaria” photo project. Her initiative began in August when she launched the “Let’s Play TOGETHER” project, which aims to raise funds for a cradle that is wheelchair-friendly for children who can also enjoy the joy of playing outside. For two months, Anna has been raising money, but the cradle is broken by vandals. She repairs it, and the vandal act itself does not stop her from continuing her cause.
– What prompted you to carry out this project?
– An unpleasant incident occurred to me when a child in a wheelchair came to the playground, playing with my daughter and other children. Then a classmate started to discourage my daughter from playing with this child. She told her that the kid was sick, contagious, that she would infect other children… Then I decided to shoot these children and to show them to the public, since for many people they are still invisible.
– What is the purpose of the project?
– This is a photo project. His main goal is to see these children on their good side. I want people to see that they smile and can not only evoke sympathy, but can also cause many smiles. I want people to see them rejoice. Personally, I organize meetings where I meet children with special needs with non-disabled children. They communicate with each other, play together. I would like them all to believe that they are equal and to remove this stigma in society.
– What have you achieved so far?
– My cause “Let’s play together” starts in August. My goal then was to raise funds for a cradle, adapted for wheelchairs for children. So far, there has not been one in Bulgaria. It is a swing scale that allows all children on the playground to play together, regardless of their motor impairments. We have adapted it in such a way that on one side there are two healthy children who are rocking the child against them in a wheelchair. The price of the cradle is BGN 4200.
Where did you get the idea for this swing?
– I saw this facility on a Spanish site that had been distributed by a mother on the Internet. I liked the idea because it was completely in line with my idea to socialize children with special needs to the playground. In two months the cradle amount was collected. There was a person from Plovdiv who made this cradle free of charge and accordingly it is already installed in the Holy Trinity Park in the capital. Unfortunately, vandals were immediately found to break her the next day. Whatever, we lived through it. We told ourselves – they will break, we will repair… The cradle is great, it allows children in wheelchairs to experience the joy of playing on the playground like their other peers, and that is great. I wish we could put such swings in at least a few more parks.
– Do you easily find like-minded people for the cause?
– Yes, people are responsive. There are many donators. The very fact is that the first funds I raised in less than two months suggests that people recognize such initiatives and want to support them.
– What I always say – do not hide from your children that there are different. On the contrary, tell them that there are such different children, but teach them to accept them not only through their differences, but because they are children, they have the same needs… They also want to communicate and play like everyone else.
At the organized photo exhibition on Sunday, Anna Yoncheva raised another BGN 1932.50 from the sale of handmade souvenirs, knits and jewelry donated by volunteers to the project. These funds are a step towards the next specialized swing for children with disabilities in Sofia. Yoncheva is convinced that all children deserve to experience the joy of playing outside and will not refuse to give happiness to these children.