“People who work in the field of social work are faced with pressing expectations due to the nature of their work with vulnerable people. Yet their wages do not correspond to the high demands of their labour.” reports Alexandrina Dimitrova for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR)’s podcast ‘Predi vsichki’.
“Social workers need to be rewarded with fair pay as well as with opportunities for learning and development, support, supervision, e.g. assistance and guidance from a psychologist. Currently, none of these are provided. A few years ago we had the opportunity to share experience with colleagues from Iceland. We noticed that there are many services available that offer support to the parents of children with special needs, which are similar to the so called ‘substitution to orphanage’ services in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, there are still no policies governing this type of service in Bulgaria, but organisations in the field have started discussing the topic openly with the public. This service allows you to have your child with special needs be taken care of for a weekend or a couple of days if you as a professional have work commitments. As such it gives you a sort of independence and help, which has been shown to be very helpful in the long run and to prevent abandonment.
Young people with special needs in Iceland had the opportunity to work within the so called ‘assisted roles’, i.e. working manually on tasks that bring them a sense of fulfillments as well as a financial compensation. Unfortunately, this is not yet implemented completely in Bulgaria. One reason may be that people with special needs are perceived as unable to perform labour. A few examples of young people with special needs in Kiustendil proved that assumption wrong. One particular young man worked at a laundry company. Another two young men worked in the kitchen of a nursery.”