People say we have been living in times when everything is measured in money and everything has its price. Most Bulgarians, however, believe that there are things that cannot be bought with money. We believe in universal human values that help us understand the world better and overcome difficulties we face. People who show us ways to live in peace with ourselves and with social aspirations and expectations are traditionally called Enlighteners.
Enlighteners are not superhuman beings and in most cases do not have diplomas from prestigious schools or sit at a desk in spacious offices. Being an enlightener means being a special person whose words are respected and listened to by many. They are people with ideas who quickly come into action and who can change human lives, the fate of a whole generation, or sometimes of whole nations.
Enlighteners continue to excite the mind of hundreds of patriotic Bulgarians. "There are such people in every period of time," the members of an initiative committee, trying each year to find Bulgarians worthy to be called "Enlightener of the Year," say. It is good to remember the deeds of our ancestors, but it is equally important to look for good examples that are among us. There are writers, citizens who helped others living in poverty or helped young Bulgarians in their first steps towards professional realization, among the people with a nomination for "Enlightener of the Year 2018".
Billiana Savova, head of a foundation helping people affected by multiple sclerosis, is among the nominees this year. "I have been having a foundation for many years but to get into this category, I had to awaken myself first. Then I felt an inner need to help at least a few other people," Biliana Savova says and adds:
“I think everyone has been on this road – awakening comes first and then a desire to change someone else’s life. I believe that once I can achieve something, then others can achieve it too. I enjoy every letter I receive, and I help whenever I can. My story is pretty well known. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After years of hardships and the emergence of additional problems, I became very ill. For 6 years, my condition was getting worse and there was no room for improvement. Then I realized that the answer to illness was inside me that I was the one who had to take the treatment in my own hands and get out of the swamp. Waking up is not an easy process, especially since I had previously focused only on career and problems in my personal life. Then I felt into the grip of illness and I realized that the first thing I had to do was to stop and find different priorities for myself and started enjoying even the smallest things. Then gradually the good things started to return to my life.”
It's not accidental that Billiana has called her foundation “Moga Sam” (“I can do it by myself”). This is her greatest message to people who are going through serious health problems. Her desire to help with a personal example and motivation has made her meet hundreds of people and what she noticed was that many surrender to self-pity. Billiana claims that no one should be sorry, and in a difficult times the best help is finding out you can solve your problems by yourself.
"’Moga Sam’ means not just doing something alone but wanting to have the inner drive to do something,” Biliana Savova says. “The unpleasant fact that I face is that many people do not want to help themselves. It is much more comfortable for them to live in self-pity. I see they do not even want to heal because they are afraid of the world outside and of being powerless to deal with it. This keeps them frozen and fear is one of the main reasons for illnesses to occur. I believe that if one removes their fear and the obstacles they create themselves, they would solve many of their problems, even health issues."
English: Alexander MarkovPhoto: private library