The Bulgarian Red Cross is a humanitarian volunteer organisation committed to providing support to vulnerable people victims of crisis and disasters in Bulgaria in order to improve their life and dignity and relieve their suffering.
Among other activities, the BCR provides 12 types of social services, 8 of which directed towards older people. In 2017 a total of 5 341 older persons benefited from these social services at community level.
Skills and knowledge
The Bulgarian Red Cross covers the whole country thanks to a network of grassroots associations at municipal level, 28 regional branches and a national council in charge of the main executive and ruling body. In October 2018, the Bulgarian Red Cross will celebrate its 140 years of existence! The skilled staffs have permitted the Bulgarian Red Cross to take part in policy work and experimentations in the fields of Care and Social Welfare besides the BRC regular activities.
As the summer 2018 closes the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union, the Bulgarian Red Cross can be proud of major achievements in several fields. Being an active participant of the regional dialogue on ageing with fellow Red Cross organisations in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Armenia, Belarus and Serbia, the BRC provided partners with its important positive experience.
At the national level, this year saw the adoption of the action plan for 2018-2021 associated to the Bulgarian Strategy on Long-Term Care to which the Red Cross had contributed. In its attempt to increase the access and improve the quality of care provided to older persons, a regional experimentation was also carried out by the Bulgarian Red Cross in cooperation with the Ministries of Labour, Social Policy and Health to change the approach to services provision and ensure a more adequate regulation of these services, including quality standards.
The Bulgarian Red Cross will keep up the good relations that have been established with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the position of the Republic of Bulgaria towards a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
It will also keep dedicating efforts to the development of a new law for social services expected in the coming months to regulate the quality and provision of integrated medico-social services. The Bulgarian Red Cross is also very much anticipating the digitalisation of services with a lot of experimentations in the pipeline. A pilot project may start this fall to explore the use of technologies in the provision of home care services based on the Norwegian experience.
Added value of being a member of AGE
When the Bulgarian Red Cross joined AGE Platform Europe back in 2009, activities with older persons where much more limited than what they are today, especially in the advocacy field. Since then, services and activities offered to older people grew as a priority – which is not necessarily the case in other Red Crosses.
The Bulgarian Presidency of the EU proved again the importance of a cooperation at the continental level, may it regard data protection or the migration challenge and related-humanitarian issues on which the national Red Crosses are also very active.
Being part of AGE much helped the Bulgarian Red Cross to build its advocacy capacity in the advocacy field. The Bulgarian Red Cross is now very active at the national level, raising the awareness of the successive governments on the importance to combat ageism and provide quality services.
Nadezhda Todorovska, firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Social Welfare and Operational Activities Division
Siana Karsheva, email@example.com
Senior Expert International Projects