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“SOS Koala” – compassion thousands of kilometres away

Photo: BGNES

The reports about the devastating fires in Australia have triggered a wave of compassion in Bulgaria. A group of young people launched a campaigned via social networks and organized a charity event in support of all the animals which suffered in the natural disaster.

More than 11 thousand leva (5624 euro) is the sum raised in support of the cause for recovering the damage caused by the bushfires in Australia. The funds raised at the charity bazaar “SOS Koala” will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund Australia to assist in the treatment, stay and feeding of the affected koalas and also other animals in the specially constructed treatment centres. Although this might seem like a negligible sum against the backdrop of donations from world-famous celebrities and businessmen, these funds are a token of compassion with a problem that the majority of Bulgarians, perhaps rightly so, would describe as too distant and even exotic. The truth is, however, that what happened in Australia will inevitably affect all of us, regardless of how far from there we might be geographically. A study of NASA shows that the carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere due to the wild fires is more than 250 million tonnes, which is nearly half the amount of what Australia emits for an entire year.

One of the challenges inherent in organizing charity events is to convince your visitors that their donation will count, that it will not be misappropriated and that will be utilized to bring health, joy, solace or security to those in need.

It is true that there are many causes and events related to helping those in need and I feel very sad that I am unable to help each human or animal”, says Violeta Vartovska, one of the organizers of the charity bazaar. “What I have learned from my experience with other such bazaars, however, is that Bulgarians want and love to help. That way, most people feel more useful and better in general. In fact, we cannot persuade anyone to donate, because if they do not support this cause, we cannot change their minds”.

Preserved second-hand clothing and shoes, cosmetics, jewelry and food made specifically for the event were just a few of the surprises for the large crowd. Actors from the Sofia-based Theatre and Film Academy revealed the secrets of the pantomime, two girls presented their ballet school on the spot, and the kids had fun cooking vegetarian and vegan sweets, drawing with henna or painting on textile.


The message of the event was that each one of us should pay more attention to the small steps we could take to help protect the environment. A special discussion introduced adults to the possibility of living with little or no waste. In our daily lives, we often do not pay much attention to how much and what we throw away. We take for granted the dozens of plastic bags at home and outside, and with each purchase we add one more to the pile in the cupboard. Hard-to-decompose plastic materials are contained in product packaging, disposable cups, plates and utensils, and in all sorts of items one can imagine. However, life is possible without them, believe the young organizers of SOS Koala. The more - the more – is their answer to the question about what is the number of people who need to live producing less waste so it would have a positive impact on nature and the climate.

Every little effort and saving of plastic has a huge impact. It took a generation for the planet to get polluted. Each plastic bag you refuse to take at the shop, each non-used foil, or each time you go shopping with your own canvass bag saves a significant amount of plastic”.

SOS Koala is not the first charity event that young Violeta has organized. Her idea was also the organization of two bazaars to raise funds for the treatment of a loved one with an oncological disease. She assures us that she will continue to support various causes, and the next big event she will invest her energy in will be dedicated to a local problem in Bulgaria.

English Rossitsa Petcova

Photos: BGNES


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