FOUR thousand homeless people have been supported in Bulgaria, one of the poorest countries in Europe, during the five years of a street mission run by the Christian charity Mission Without Borders (MWB).
Its Street Mercy programme supports children who have left institutions, young people who are unemployed, and those with addictions or mental or physical disabilities.
The project, in the capital, Sofia, is run by volunteers who are on the streets 365 days a year, even when temperatures reach −20°. They offer practical as well as emotional support, including counselling.
MWB’s manager in Bulgaria, Sarkis Ovanesyan, said: “The aim of the project has always been simple: to provide and show Christian love to the most vulnerable in our society.”
The former communist country joined the EU in 2007, but has struggled economically: it has the lowest GDP in Europe. It was also issued with a warning this year by the European Commission about its high levels of corruption and its failure to tackle organised crime.
The country is also facing political turmoil: early elections are being held this month. The Prime Minister, Boiko Borisov, on the centre-Right, resigned after the victory of a Russia-friendly candidate, backed by the opposition Socialists, in the presidential election last November.