A Bulgarian girl with a big heart has returned to her motherland to get to know the country where she was born. And although her life abounds in hardship and challenge she gives away kindness to those who need help and affection.
Until two years ago, Gabriella Permaul used to visit a European school in Strasbourg, but one day she felt that time had come for meeting new people and exploring a new way of life. The girl hardly hesitated which country to choose – of her Bulgarian mom or of her British dad. And, because she was born in Bulgaria she arrived in this country.
Today Gabriella is in the last grade of First English Language School in Sofia, works hard to be able to close the gap between the educational systems and has been dreaming of her future. What makes her different from her peers though is not the accent felt as she articulates some Bulgarian words but rather her eagerness to help children who had not been lucky enough to have been born healthy.
Gabriella came across the activities of the Child and Space Association by chance and immediately volunteered to work in the family type accommodation centers where children with disabilities receive proper care. In some of them severely disabled kids are cared for 24/7.
“I love helping people and when two years ago I met the guys from the Association I decided I wanted to do something worthy in my life and take care of people who are in need of help”, Gabriella told Radio Bulgaria. “When I go to visit the children they give me hugs and broad smiles because they are very emotional. We simply have fun together – we read, play but I also watch out to prevent falls or injuries. For them this is fun because they meet with new people and learn more about the world outside. When I am with them I can see that they are happy and enjoy every little thing. This inspires me even more to visit them.”
Apart from spending her pastime in volunteer work Gabriella Permaul is Vice President of the school club “People to people international – the Doves Chapter FELS”. It was her who came up with the idea of a charity concert for children with special needs which will be held on 17 March at Mixtape 5 club in Sofia. Thickets will be sold at BGN 10 (about 5 euro).
“We have three key objectives”, Gabriella explains. “In the first place, with this concert we seek to inform people of the Child and Space Association, of the family type accommodation centers and also that any help is welcome – by volunteering or in another way. We also want to raise money to be able to buy a wheelchair for a young man from the house in Slatina district as well as for the summer holidays of the kids which have become possible due to sponsors. We want children to have great holidays, enjoy themselves and think of nice things all the time.”
When she moved to BulgariaGabriellaPermaul was faced with a different mentality – young people are more open, keener on partying at night, while in Strasbourg streets are empty after 8 p.m. What shocked Gabriella most of all though was mass smoking from an early age. Of course there are a few positive things too.
“I was told that education in Bulgaria was at a much higher level and I would have hard time studying”, Gabriella recalled. “In fact, this is positive but there is no discipline at school. In France there is strict discipline – we listen to teachers and cooperate with them. True, education in Strasbourg is at a lower level and here we are taught specialized subjects in-depth and I like that because general knowledge matters. To recap, I am satisfied though I wrestle with all subjects and have to catch up.”
Upon graduationGabriella Permaulplans to go back to the United Kingdom and follow her dream of becoming an actress. Still, Bulgaria will always play a role in her life, she believes. “This is my birthplace and I want to be of help though I have not yet found the way”, concludes Gabriella.
English Daniela Konstantinova