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Diana Dimitrova transforms the environment with embroideries from plastic caps

Photo: private library

Diana Dimitrova is making embroideries from plastic caps, transmitting the coded messages to the Bulgarian women with the help of modern material. Her panels adorn the fence of the eco-park in her hometown of Elin Pelin, and with the help of her readings the beautiful embroidery revives the Bulgarian spirit in schools and community centres in different settlements.

Although she had a settled life in the United States and a happy family with three children, after a ten-year stay overseas, Diana decided to return to Bulgaria. “I didn't just go back to Bulgaria, I went back to my hometown of Elin Pelin,” she says, adding: “I took my heart home.”

One of the first things she did is sign up for a new playground. Not long after, the mayor of Elin Pelin contacted her and invited her to take the place of a senior public relations expert in the municipality. So Diana bends to work for change and becomes an ambassador of goodness.

"So many good things are happening around us, but it's as if we've forgotten our glasses," she says. "I have a feeling we can't see them. One just need to walk down the street and smile at someone, for no reason. And they will smile back at you. This can lift you up, no matter what a bad day you had. We need to do these little things, such as supporting our children when they do something good. When they acted good, we should praise them and they will think in this direction how to continue to be good."

In addition to her work in the municipality, Diana finds another field of public benefit – to introduce children to Bulgarian traditions and our folklore. She was also inspired by a visit to the Sofia Zoo. There she saw panels with images of animals made of plastic caps. Not only did she begin to use the same technique in making her embroidery panels, but she also received invitations to paint figures on the facades of public buildings in the area. She carried out the first of them for the community centre in the village of Musachevo and for the school in the village of Novi Han.

"Embroidery occupies a very special place in my life and in the life of the municipality of Elin Pelin”, says Diana Dimitrova. “For the last 52 years we have been the winners of a Shopski feast that brings together people of all generations. The Shopski feast preserves the spirit of the Bulgarian language and shows us how good it is to be who you are. This is the magic of Bulgarian folklore, which we preserve and pass on to future generations."

Diana does not hide her resentment that children have removed the caps from some of the panels. That's why she is planning to organize a "big meeting" so that they can restore them together. "Children are like a blank sheet of paper and it is our duty to show them what is good and what is bad," she says. And she keeps believing that good attracts good.

Compiled by Diana Tsankova (based on interviews of Mariela Dimitrova of BNR-Varna and Elenitsa Marinova of BNR’s Horizon Channel)

Photos: Facebook/Diana Dimitrova and Elin Pelin Municipality

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