Cedar Foundation is founded in Kazanlak by Mark and Penny O’Sullivan. At the time, over 10,000 Bulgarian children live in state institutions. Cedar’s mission is to improve the quality of care that they receive by raising donations, carrying out training, and providing therapy.
Cedar Foundation team visits the State Institution for Children with Intellectual Disabilities in the village of Gorna Koznitsa. This visit proves decisive for the foundation’s future. From this point on, the organization begins working towards closing down state institutions as they are incapable of providing quality care to children and systemically infringe on their rights.
Cedar Foundation initiates the process of shutting down the state institution in Gorna Koznitsa. Meanwhile, Cedar prepares the smooth transition from the institution to a family, or similar, environment for all 58 of the children and youths with disabilities.
The foundation’s central headquarters moves to Sofia and the organization begins fundraising as well as encouraging corporate social responsibility in Bulgaria. Cedar actively prepares the process of relocating the children and youths from the state institution in Gorna Koznitsa and the planning for new Family-type Homes which would take over their care.
The state institution in Gorna Koznitsa completely ceases operations. This makes it the first state institution for children with disabilities in Bulgaria to close down. In partnership with the Municipality of Kyustendil, Cedar Foundation creates and begins managing the Family-type Homes “Siyanie”. Bulgaria begins the process of deinstitutionalization.
Cedar Foundation begins a partnership with the Municipality of Kazanlak. The organization is instrumental in opening three Family-type Centers and one Protected Home within the city. This facilitates the shutting down of an additional 11 state institutions in the country and the provision of around-the-clock individual care to nearly 50 children and youths.
The organization begins to actively engage with advocacy and educational work. Cedar shares its experience in shutting down state institutions and opening new social services. The foundation begins offering training to social service providers and professionals working in the sector.
Cedar Foundation begins managing the Family-Type Centers and Protected Home in Kazanlak. The Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration “Sineva” in Kyustendil opens in the fall of 2015. At the center, the foundation provides professional support to youths with intellectual disabilities and their families. The number of children and youths, which the foundation supports, increases threefold and the team expands to a hundred professionals.
Cedar introduces current business models in its team management, improves internal communications, and develops the qualifications and experience of the professionals who work with the children and youths. The organization continues to engage new partners with its cause and to support changing public perceptions on social issues.
Cedar Foundation provides 24-hour care to the most children and youths within the NGO sector in Bulgaria. Cedar actively contributes to the deinstitutionalization process, co-chairs the Permanent Expert Group on Deinstitutionalization with the State Agency for Child Protection, and participates in several working groups and advisory councils in Bulgaria.
Cedar Foundation signed a new 5 year contract for the management of the residential services and Social rehabilitation and integration center for children and youths with disabilities in Kyustendil Municipality. Thus the organisation continues the management of 9 social services in two municipalities in Bulgaria, where it provides individual care and support to over 90 disadvantaged children and young adults. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in early 2020, Cedar has successfully adapted its work processes in accordance with health protocols and has managed to preserve the health of all children and young people in the centres. Youths over 18 in all of the organization’s centres have undergone full vaccination.