Welcoming Ukrainian Refugees in Bulgaria
Published on June 14, 2022
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the United Nations estimates that 7 million people have fled the country to seek refuge in neighboring countries while 8 million have been displaced within Ukraine itself. BCause Foundation, a nonprofit organization (NPO) based in Bulgaria and a member of the CAF International Network, has worked to develop the philanthropic sector within the Balkan nation since 1995. Now, with Europe facing the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War the Foundation has launched a fund for immediate and medium term support of Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria. By directly assisting and supporting NPOs and volunteer groups and coordinating national responses with actors in the National Crisis Taskforce, the Foundation has a role in not only emergency support but the integration of refugees.
Integration is often an overlooked aspect of refugee assistance. BCause reports that 120,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Bulgaria, and one third of the new arrivals are children. To help facilitate their integration, the organization has created a Relief Fund that is supporting a number of support services including:
- • Provision of housing and basic aid
- • Legal support
- • Daycare for children so that mothers can pursue employment opportunities
- • Bulgarian language training, professional/vocational training, and testing
- • Facilitation of smooth transitions into schooling for children of all ages
- • Healthcare and social services for chronically ill and disabled people
Since the Ukrainian crisis began, BCause has received over 40,000 USD in grants from a wide range of donors. These funds have strengthened BCause’s organizational capacity to effectively channel donor resources and by extension contribute to the financial and organizational strengthening of civil society. Additionally, BCause has advised many donors to give to major Ukrainian charities and assisted organizations in the distribution of their funds, this encompasses a total impact of about 590,000 USD. Through this BCause is able to extend their reach and support more and more refugees as they arrive in Bulgaria.
Profile of Impact
BCause Foundation, Executive Director
Elitsa Barakova has worked for BCause Foundation (formerly BCAF) since its establishment in 1995. She joined as a Programme Coordinator responsible for new business development, before becoming the Executive Director in 1999. Under Elitsa’s management BCAF/BCause started its national payroll giving programme (now active for 15 years), the Rinker Centre for entrepreneurship, DMS 17 777 Project for using text messaging for donations (in partnership with the Bulgarian Donor Forum), Platformata.bg – a social network for givers, along with many grant making and training programmes for civil society organizations. The organization is presently a well-known advisor and implementer of corporate community investment programmes, an advocate for individuals to give and volunteer from their workplace, and a flexible donor for NGOs.
Elitsa holds a Masters Degree in Management of Education and Social Education from Sofia University. She holds training certificates in fundraising, advocacy and NGO management, as well as CSR-related topics.
Elitsa sits on the board of the UN Global Compact Bulgarian Network, International Youth Award Foundation, Co-chairs AmCham HR/CSR Committee and is a member of the Social Economy group with the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
Elitsa is married, with three sons.
About the author
Wendy Pius serves as CAF America’s Thought Leadership Officer. Through this role, she is responsible for organizational knowledge management and original content creation pertaining to international philanthropy and cross-border giving.