Young UK Volunteers Brighten Lives in Bulgaria Orphanage*Views on BG | May 29, 2012, Tuesday // 08:18| views
By the North West Evening Mail
Volunteers from Barrow and Millom have brightened the lives of impoverished children in a Bulgarian orphanage.
The eight young adults returned home recently from a life-changing two-week visit to the town of Elin Pelin.
The trip was part of a course run by RV Projects that aims to give people the skills and confidence so they are ready to start work.
While the team created a number of paintings and murals to spruce up the orphanage, the focus of the trip was on members interacting with the 50-odd children.
Laura Phizacklea, 24, of Hindpool, Barrow, was so moved by the experience that she said she would even contemplate adopting a child of her own in the future.
“It was an incredible experience,” she said. “The children really liked having us there because they knew we were there to help them.
“At first it was really difficult talking to the children because of the language barrier, but there was a lot of sign language and some of the children were good at English and translated.”
Miss Phizacklea, who was on her second trip to Bulgaria with RV Projects, said the course was a great opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
“I’ve done it once before and with work so bad at the moment I thought it would be a nice experience to go and give something back,” she said.
“It was quite confronting, though. On the way to the orphanage on the bus you would see children looking through rubbish piles and people searching in bins and stuff.”
RV Projects team leader Jodey Ainsworth, who together with Richard Bastille accompanied the team on the trip, said anyone over 18 who is not currently working, training or studying could apply.
“The course is a really practical one aimed at personal development and building employability skills,” she said. “There’s a whole variety of skills they learn such as being able to plan, organise, be self-reliant and working as a team.”
The team comprised of Louise Connor, Reuben Grayless, Charlotte Martin, Laura Phizacklea, Cameron Simpson, Kenneth Smith, Beverly Stobart, all from Barrow, and Alex Peel from Millom.