BRIGHT presented at a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria for World Down Syndrome day. There were over 200 people in attendance, including parents of children with Down Syndrome, therapists, care providers, teachers, doctors, and orphanages workers. Parents were given simple instrument kits to use with their children at home, and gathering drums were donated to orphanage directors in attendance. While the other presenters were speaking, we spent some time with the children in child care doing interactive music. While in Sofia, we visited an orphanage called Sveti Ivan Rilski, where we visited the children for a short period of time, and donated instruments. Interactive music was not allowed.
BRIGHT also visited a safe house for women and children affected by domestic abuse in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. They women ranged in ages from a young mom of an infant to a woman who had to be in her 80’s (at least). We implemented a variety of experiences, including a drum circle, lyric analysis, expressing feelings through instrument playing, progressive muscle relaxation, and creating a musical rainstorm. The women were receptive to us and later told the resident psychiatrist that they enjoyed the time and would like opportunities to do it again. Three girls and two boys made up the children, and one boy was there with his sister. We also spent some time speaking with the facility psychiatrist afterwards and answering questions she had. She told us a little bit about each child and how the women had a positive response to their morning music session. Everyone was happy to know that the instruments were staying at the facility and could be used when desired/needed.
Lastly, we visited an orphanage called Nezabravka in Stara Zagora. We were able to do interactive music with the children here, first with the 4 and 5 year olds, and then the 6 and 7 year olds after that. These children were typically orphaned because their parents could not afford to take care of them. They received an instrument donation as well.
Read our blog posts from the Bulgaria Trip.