Being the grandmother of 40 children

Grandma Stoyanka, as everyone calls her, has been working as a social therapist at one of our family-type homes in Kazanlak for almost 10 years now. Her professional experience includes working at a blacksmith workshop alongside 300 men. And today, almost 70-years-old, she shares that she has finally discovered her true calling – being a grandma.

“Wherever I go, I become everyone’s grandma. “

Grandma Stoyanka loves to talk and mostly about her grandchildren – 4 from her own children and 40 more who lived or still live in our family-type home, whom she also calls “my children”. She wears two colourful bracelets on her hand and never takes them off – one of them is from her youngest granddaughter and the other one – from another granddaughter, by whom she means one of the children, who lives with us.

She considers herself “a feisty grandma” who fears nothing, never stops and is always among young people. Every day begins with a morning workout – 150 jumps, squats and a few walks around the building. She unwaveringly joins all our initiatives and was the oldest participant at our summer camp at the “Studen Kladenets” dam. There, not only did she sleep in a tent for the first time and learned how to kayak, but thanks to her support, one of our young adults overcame his fear of water.

“No matter where you go or what you do, giving the children courage is the most important thing. “

Always supportive and understanding, grandma Stoyanka transfers her serenity and strength to the children and young adults. She helps them overcome themselves and deal with their troubles. Even the wildest and most willful teenagers run to her for a hug and share everything with her – their difficulties at school, their desires and dreams, or the last fight with their boyfriend or girlfriend. She teaches them to be kind, tells them stories from her life, advises them without judgement, and they continue looking for her and returning to her, even if they have already left our family-type home.

“I am where the children are. “

Like every grandma, Stoyanka values the little things and the shared moments with her grandchildren most of all. She cooks the best meals, even the macaroni and cheese and the “tsiganska banitsa” (a toast with oil and spices) are gone in just a few minutes. She loves telling the children stories, reading them fairy tales and singing them songs from her childhood. In the evenings until bedtime, they often watch TV together or play the boardgame “Man, don’t get angry”, and they always discuss the most important question – what’s for breakfast.

“You have to listen to the children, let them make their own choices”

Every morning they choose how many slices of bread they want for breakfast, sometimes they want two, sometimes they want four, but one thing is certain – they eat them lightning fast. When she picks them up from school, they always take a different route – one of their choosing, taking as long a walk as they feel like. She always has candy or breadsticks in her purse – the children say they are the most delicious ones. She is always proud of their good grades at school and she encourages them to try even harder, so that one day they are successful. Every time someone mentions any of the children, she says she is their grandma – their only grandma.

And what can be better than having a grandma? A grandma who cooks your favourite meals, plays with you, tells you interesting stories and sings the best songs around the campfire; a grandma who believes in you and always gives you courage when you need it; a grandma, who agrees with you and responds to your needs; a grandma who is right where you are.


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