There is a 'childrens story' going on at the moment which you can tune into if you have Bulgarian TV. Watch 'Shestorka 2' on BTV Tuesdays and Thursdays. 8pm.
This is a fundraiser for Bulgaria's children in homes.
The last 'Shectorka' raised 1 400 000 leva.
In a way it's a bit cheesy, 6 celebs paired with 6 professional singers. Every week they sing a duet and the public gets to vote the best (or most loved or least bad!
This is all in Bulgarian so I'll just give you the 'as best as I understand it' version. If I've got something wrong I hope someone with better Bulgarian will come along and correct me.
The specific aim this year is to raise money to close a children's home near Schuman which currently houses 106 children under the age of 3.
The hope is to support the children in their natural families or arrange adoption or fostering.
There are more than 2500 under 3's in care in Bulgaria. Many are cared for in large institutions.
3 months in an institution equals 1 month of retarded development, Interlectual, emotional, social and physical impairment which may stay with the child throughout their life.
This may not be because the care is 'bad' but simply because children are meant to be raised by families.
Various stories of the children are shown in amongst the bad singing and well known and respected Bulgarian personalities are shown in tears and impassioned....statements I've understood include.
'I've met children from some of the poorest countries in the world and I've never seen anything like the way we, who call ourselves a 21st century European country treat our children'
'These are our children, if we can give them a future Bulgaria has a future'
Some of it is, of course sentimental, some of it is also very pragmatic (relationships between early institutional care and later unemployment, criminality and early parenthood).
For me the most heartening thing is the sense that the lead is being taken by Bulgarians to say that this cannot continue. This message from loved and respected public figures means a lot more than if it's us or any foreign inspectorate saying it.