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A house for children with special needs

Geri Petkova is a lovely little girl who greets all visitors with a big smile. Last year, she turned 10 but still needs more attention than her 3-year-old sister, Alexandra, and 2-year-old brother, Ivan. Mentally and physically, Geri is behind her siblings, since she was born with the cerebral palsy.

Developing physical and mental abilities is very important for
Geri Petkova.


Geri Petkova gets all the support she needs thanks to her parents and Habitat.

However, Geri’s parents are not in despair. They use all resources to give their elder daughter all the special care she needs. Pepa and Bojidar explained that her condition has been steadily improving since 2006, and they have no desire to stop developing her physical and mental abilities.

Pepa stays at home to look after the children. She takes Geri for special gymnastics and massage therapy, and the better part of the family’s budget goes for this medical treatment. However, Bojidar tries to take up additional menial or shift jobs to bring extra money into the family or have spare time to help his wife with the children.

As a result, the family had no financial means to maintain and upgrade their house in Sofia. There was not enough space for Geri to move around in the wheelchair or with her walking aid . At the same time, the absence of a proper bathroom in the house immensely complicated Pepa’s job of bathing the children and created extra obstacles when taking care of Geri, who could not even go to the toilet without help.

Then, the family heard about Habitat Bulgaria’s program that offers home-improvement loans for families with disabled children. The Petkovi used their small savings and a Habitat loan to build an extension to the house and install proper bathroom facilities.

The loan money was mainly spent on buying construction materials. Then, Bojidar, his relatives and friends volunteered to complete the construction. Even their grandparents were involved in the process. As they could not build, they looked after the children while the adults were busy on the construction.

Now, Petkovi’s house has a spare room for Geri and a new bathroom with a special tub, sink and toilet, equipped with handles. Geri can use it without relying on round-the clock-assistance.

“We are grateful to Habitat for the financial support in this project. Now we would like to support other families who find themselves in a similar situation,” says Pepa. Next, the family plans to upgrade their old garage to create a common space. The area can then used for communal therapy and rehabilitation sessions for children with special needs like Geri’s.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Bulgaria.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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