How a school counsellor from Kotel helped 164 families

When helping others is part of who you are and is your passion, there’s always a way for good to prevail!


She is 23 years old. She was born and lives in the town of Kotel. Her name is Tanya Hristova and she works as a school counsellor in the “G. S. Rakovski” school in the town which she graduated from. Tanya completed her bachelor’s degree in social management in a department of Law and Social Sciences. She has been a volunteer for 13 years and she has also been part of the volunteer network of Arete Youth Foundation.


Her second job is as project coordinator for the project Earning by Learning funded by the EEA and implemented by the Trust for Social Achievement. Tanya is responsible for mediating between businesses and socially disadvantaged young people in order to help them find work and, once they’re in their new workplaces, mentorship by experts from different companies. But her true passion, like she herself says, is volunteering, which she has been engaged in for 13 years. Part of her experience as a volunteer is with the Bulgarian Red Cross and Arete Youth Foundation. She says that the two organizations have played a major role in her personal development, in the improvement of her organizational and fundraising skills.

But this is not where our story about Tanya ends. When in mid-March the COVID-19 pandemic led to the declaration of a state of emergency, she realized that a large proportion of the families in her community are put in a critical situation and are losing their incomes which are already small. Tanya was thinking about what she could do and decided to adapt her project activities for which she receives the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. “I thought that it was time to transform my work and steer it towards initiatives which would be useful in tackling the consequences of the pandemic. As the project Let’s Talk is my personal cause, giving it up was difficult for me, but I decided that I can put it off by restructuring part of the activities so that I could carry them out remotely”, explained Tanya. “The way the media overwhelm us with negative information, the desperate publications on social platforms and the thousands of cries for help, combined with the statistics about growing unemployment made me think about how I could make myself useful.


 This is why I focused on those who are most in need – the mothers of babies and toddlers. I decided not to limit myself with regard to social status or ethnic background. On my own initiative, I emailed several companies which produce and sell baby foods and supplies with a plea to make a donation. Three days later I received a positive response from the Bulgarian company FIKOSOTA Ltd. based in the town of Shumen. They took the cause to heart and made a big donation in the shape of personal hygiene products and detergents for household use – diapers, wet wipes, soap, laundry detergent”, explains Tanya.