The Karin Dom Centre - A centre for Children with Special Needs

The Executives of My Bulgaria Ltd (and its holding company Balkan Holdings plc) have travelled extensively throughout Bulgaria and have become increasingly concerned about the plight of children who are placed in homes or institutions there and who are either orphaned or medically/physically challenged.

Some of the conditions in which these children are forced to live are deplorable, verging on the sub human. We know of homes that house Downs Syndrome children who have been confined to bed for years to the extent that they now cannot stand. In some homes the toilets are so foul that the children prefer to ‘go’ outside - even in the winter. Some children do not get enough to eat, which is not surprising when the government provides less than 20 pence per day per child for food. Most of the homes do not have enough or indeed ‘any’ heating, clothing, toys, books, medical equipment or laundry facilities.

Our aim is to do whatever we are able to improve the lives of these children and the facilities and living conditions that they are forced to live in. As such we fully support the aims of Ivan Stancioff and the Karim Dom Foundation.

The Karin Dom Centre for Children with Special Needs was founded in 1994 in a large villa overlooking the Black Sea in Varna and built by Dimitri and Anna Stancioff in 1909. After the restitution in Bulgaria in 1993 it was returned to the Stancioff family who offered it for use by the Karin Dom Foundation. “Karin Dom” means Karin’s home – in memory of Karin Guepin a cousin of the Stancioff family who had Cerebral Palsy.

Karin Dom is a Bulgarian NGO funded by entirely by charitable donations.

The centre provides:

• Therapy for children with physical disabilities, mental and learning problems and visual and hearing problems using early intervention and the Bobath concept.

• A toy library - children are given toys to take home for a certain period of time so as to develop given skills.

• Swimming therapy - with KD staff and parents.

• Free transport to and from the Centre.

• Integrated activities with other children so as to prepare them for integration into mainstream schools.

• Training for professionals, parents and volunteers.

• A parents' support group including meetings with a psychologist.

• Joint work with other NGOs in Bulgaria and lobbying for The Child Act and fair taxation.

• A national media awareness programme.

• A fostering programme

The long term objectives of the centre are:

To encourage parents to care for their children at home, in the family and with the support of day care centres, rather than abandon them to Institutions.

To work for the integration of children with special needs and their families into society.

To become a training and resource Centre.

To become a model for a day care and rehabilitation centre for children with special needs.

At the Karin Dom Centre for Children each child is assessed by a multidisciplinary team followed by an individual plan including work with the child and parents wherever possible including group work with other children and; - training of parents and staff; - a parents' support group - meeting with a psychologist; - introducing the neuro-developmental method (the Bobat method) for children with cerebral palsy and related conditions with the help of specialists from UK; - toy library for children with special needs whereby the child is given toys to take home for a certain period of time on the advice of the special needs teachers so as to develop various skills; - free transport for children to and from Karin Dom; - swimming therapy - children, parents and Karin Dom staff; - integrated activities of the children with special needs with other children (siblings from the family, children from mainstream schools, boy and girls scouts, etc), so as to integrate children with special needs and their families into society; - joint project with other Bulgarian and foreign NGOs; - A fostering programme and lobbying for new and more protective laws for children; - an awareness programme - with the help of the local and national media; - setting up a data base for the incidents of children with physical disabilities and mental problems in the Varna region.
The long-term objective is the replication of similar day centres in Bulgaria, so as to encourage parents to care for children with special needs in the family with the help of a day centre, rather than leave them in institutions. The centre is working on an EC sponsored project with "Save the children" - UK.

Following lectures and seminars at Karin Dom there has already been interest in starting day therapy units in the towns of Shoumen, Dobrich, Gabrovo and Sofia.


Due to successful treatment in Karin Dom two children are able to walk again, enjoying every minute of their childhood to the full. One of them is a six-year-old girl, brought to the centre last year. As a result of long months lying paralysed in bed a large area of her head had become hairless. The girl also had communication and visual problems. After complex therapy the child was brought back to life, happy to join friends for a walk in a specially designed frame walker.

Letter from Karin Dom



"We - children, parents and Board of Directors of Karin Dom - would like to express our gratitude to all of you - friends and sponsors for your generosity. You made it possible to enlarge the scope and diversity of services offered in Karin Dom to children with special needs and their parents".

Children integrated in mass schools

Swimming therapy

Children from Karin Dom participating in Special Olympics

The official web site of the Karim Dom Foundation can be seen at:

Whilst the Foundation not a registered charity as yet here in the UK we would ask that you do whatever you are able to help these children in need…..the foundation relies entirely on donations.

Please, in the first instance send a private email to us at to express your interest in how you feel you can help the Karim Dom Foundation further or contact the Foundation directly at 

EUR 150,000 needs to be raised in 2004 to allow the Foundation to be able to continue every day therapy and teaching programmes for the children. 

..........Thank you, on behalf of (some) Bulgarian children!