A withered tree with bare branches was a melancholic sight for patients and doctors when they looked out of the hospital’s windows. On one side of the tree is the Covid ward, and on the other - the hospital room where Svetlozara would sit by the window. One night she got an idea – to festoon the sorrowful tree with balloons and bring some joy to the people in the other ward.
“When I started making the balloon tree it was very late – around 10 PM,” Svetlozara Savova says. “I saw nurses rushing around wearing what look like spacesuits, I saw worried people coming out of their rooms. I wanted to do something to lift their spirits and my first idea was to recite Bulgarian poetry for them. But then I realized I wasn’t going to be allowed inside, all the more so that I myself was in the hospital at the time. Then I decided to do something out of the ordinary – and that was the balloon tree. And I genuinely did not expect people to react the way they did to something I had created and which I think is just a normal thing.”
Svetlozara is17, she goes to the St. Cyril and St. Methodius school in Karnobat and has so far organized more than 100 charity initiatives for children with cancer. She has herself been through pain and suffering, and she says she is able to extend a helping hand to anyone who needs it.
“I was 10 at the time and I didn’t quite understand what was happening,” Svetlozara remembers. “I knew my dad was very sick but it was only after he died – maybe one month later, that I was able to wrap my head around it. I want every single person to get well, I want this terrible disease to go away, that is why I started helping children with cancer. WhenI started my first initiative I saw that it made many people happy and that encouraged me to continue. So, with each initiative I feel a greater need to help people.”
When she was 13, she organized an initiative called “Instead of flowers, give a child with cancer luck”, and she raised the first 1,500 Leva at her school. It was followed by charity events for children with cancer from all over the country.
“I don’t think there exists a word that can describe the emotion,” Svetlozara says. “It makes you feel useful, knowing you have done something for someone. There are people who are 70 and during their lives they have done nothing to help anyone. But there are others, young people who have been doing good and their lives are much fuller even though they are younger. I do not think there are people too “big” or too “small” to engage in charity work.”
Svetlozara is currently working on two new causes. To help, she wrote a play which she is to act out online, together with friends.
Svetlozara shares her initiatives on Facebook in a group “Be charitable with me”, and sets an example for other people her age. For her good deeds she has been selected ambassador of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. She sees a future for herself in two things – in the classroom, teaching philosophy and in the streets, just like a street artist who captivated her imagination as a child during a holiday by the sea in Ahtopol.
Photos: Facebook /Svetlozara Savova, The Voice of Karnobat, gramofona.com