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Love's Hope International, Inc. * info@loveshopeinternational.org
7 Glenfield Lane * Nesconset, NY * 11767 * (631) 235-9306
Love's Hope International
The Maternal Home of Pleven
Pleven, Bulgaria
A write up by Janet Natoli, Co-Founder and Director of LHI, upon visiting The Maternal Home
in Pleven for the first time:

Having never set foot in an orphanage before, we were nervous, not only about meeting our
daughter for the first time, but about what type of living conditions we would see. As we
approached the Maternal Home in Pleven, a building housing children with medical conditions
aged 0 to 3 years, we were not surprised to see an old concrete building surrounded by
thick overgrowth. When we entered the orphanage and were taken
to meet our daughter, we were led down a flight of stairs to a long
dimly lit hallway which led to another door. That door led us down
another long hallway, this one lined with rooms containing eight
cribs each. Each room had glass windows and a door which was
closed. The children were alone in the rooms, sitting in their cribs
and rocking or standing up on the base of the crib rails. This scared
us as they could easily fall out of their cribs from this position.
However, they seemed almost skilled at balancing themselves so
that this didn't happen. We realized and later found out that this was
some of the only exercise these children received.

We spent a week at the orphanage while visiting our new little girl.
We saw the children each day. We never saw them leave their cribs....
then one day we saw that two boys were in a nearby playroom alone. One was lying on the
floor holding a toy and just staring off. The other little boy sat nearby, rocking back and
forth. Neither seemed to know how to play or what to do.

We saw the children eat each day at lunchtime and dinnertime. All meals were served in
their cribs. It reminded us of mass production. The nurse would literally pour a cupful of
liquid food (a watery mix of what we were told was meat, potatoes, beans, etc) into a
child's mouth in about 60 seconds. She would then give the child another cupful of what we
were told was sweet cream, again in about 60 seconds. The nurse would then move on to
the next crib. Most children made no attempt to reach for or hold the cup. These children
were all approximately 2 years of age. From what we saw, the majority of the children did
not walk yet nor did they speak any words. Most of the sounds they made were screams.

We later found out that this Maternity Home housed over 250 children. We noticed that
nurses were scarce. Many times late in the day, it was difficult to locate one when needed.
We also noticed that diapers were rarely changed. It seemed as if children were given a
fresh diaper in the morning and one again at night. Needless to say, much help is needed in
Pleven in all areas.

The living conditions, lack of nutrition and severe developmental delays we saw are the
reason we felt inspired to enter the world of humanitarian aid.

Pleven is the seventh largest city in Bulgaria. It is located in the heart of Bulgaria's
northern agricultural region.

The Maternal Home in Pleven is a large, austere, old building that is home to over 250
children, ages 0-3. The children are largely normal children; however some are special
needs. Children are housed in numerous wings of the building, cribs lining each room of
the wing.

Current Pleven Projects:

Infant Nutritional Programs
were started in Pleven due to a desperate need for food.
Formulas are often watered down to ensure each child receives a meal. However, this
diluting of the formula means that children are not receiving the nutrients needed to grow
and develop physically and cognitively.

For just $1 a day - $30 a month - a child can be provided with enough formula and
supplements to ensure proper nutrition. If you would like to become a monthly donor or
give a one time donation, click here.