(21 July) Donation to Louis Braille School – New Clothes for Young Ladies (+GAL)

Donation to Louis Braille SchoolOn 21 July 2022 a donation by Rotary Club Sofia International was successfully completed. Two boxes with a number of new clothes for young ladies were donated to Louis Braille School in Sofia for the pupils. The donation was made by Mrs. Violeta Draginova to Rotary Club Sofia International. Mrs. Draginova is a friend of Mr. Plamen Lazarov, Past President and a founding member of our club. Violeta is a templar and person that loves helping others.

At the handover ceremony the President of RC Sofia International Mr. Rumen Russinov was present, as well as the Past President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska and Mr. Plamen Lazarov. The Director of the school Mrs. Belokapova kindly accepted the donation with gratitude.

Louis Braille is a School for children with impaired vision and Rotary Club Sofia International has supported it several times with different donation projects, from provision of sports equipment to support for renovation works of the school’s new daily center that will be opened soon.

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(2 July) Handover Ceremony at the Diplomatic Club in Sofia (+GAL)

Handover CeremonyJuly is the time for transition in the Rotary calendar and on 2 July 2022 Rotary Bulgaria made the Rotary wheel turn once again for about 20 clubs at a joint handover ceremony in the Diplomatic Club in Sofia. The amazing event was the first of its kind where the Presidents of so many clubs passed the necklace on to the Presidents-Elect at the same time. The handover ceremony started with the transfer of the necklace from the Governor to the Governor-Elect and afterwards it was followed by the clubs. Many of our club members witnessed the transfer of the necklace from our President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska to our President-Elect  Mr. Rumen Rusinov. It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces in a great Rotary atmosphere.

Looking back at the challenges and achievements of the past Rotarian year, we would like to express our gratitude to our Past President Mrs. Hristina Malchevska for her exemplary work and dedication. We all witnessed the huge number of realized projects and the amazing work that has been done during the past year. Some of the main projects were the Donation of medical beds for the kids hospital, the Charity Gala Concert in Sofia Opera, the Buy and Donate project, Donation for Ukrainian refugees, Donation of French discs to the French Language School in Sofia, Donation to Louis Braille School in Sofia, Donation by our Past-President Mr. Horst Stueer to the Children’s hospital in Sofia, number of MED-Bul projects, some of the projects were realized with the donations and support of Rotary Club Paris Agora, joint projects with other rotary clubs – RC Bansko-Razlog, RC Kazanlak, RC Harmanli, RC Zlatograd, RC Balkan and RC Samokov, a huge toothpaste donation, one District Grant project, the project with our Rotaract club – Rotarun and many others.

We are so proud to have so many active members, friends, Rotary clubs and organizations supporting our club’s projects and we would like to express our gratitude to them as well. We thank you all for your efforts!

For the new Rotary year 2022/2023 we have many existing and new projects, plans and ideas in our pipeline which we are looking forward to being realized. Our new president Mr. Rumen Rusinov said that he will be thankful for suggestions, ideas, advices and support in the coming year and he will rely on the support of our Secretary Mrs. Elena Vasileva and the Board as well as all members, to continue serving Rotary for good causes. Let’s wish our new president, secretary and board good luck and many successful projects as well as to continue to maintain the good friendship and club life.

The informal summer meetings will be held at the same place as last year in the Club of Architects in Sofia, at 11, Krakra Str., every Wednesday from 7 pm.

We are wishing you all a wonderful summer, full of exciting moments and nice memories and hope to see you at the informal summer meetings and afterwards at the official meetings starting 28 September 2022.

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(22 Jun) Maestro Yordan Kamdzhalov Guest at Regular Meeting (+GAL)

Maestro Kamdzhalov Gueats at Regular MeetingMaestro Kamdzhalov was guest at a regular meeting of Rotary Club Sofia International on 22 June 2022. This was the last official meeting in Hilton Sofia for the Rotarian year 2021-2022. We had the pleasure to welcome 16 people at the meeting in the hotel and one member online.

The meeting started with welcoming words by Mrs. Hristina Malshevska. Then a short introduction of all people who were present in the meeting took part. Speech by the President followed about the current Rotarian year. She expressed her appreciation to the Board and all members for their dedication and time for realization of a number of actions to serve local communities (from the donation of French Disks to French Language School, 5 MED-Bul projects including donation of medical beds and equipment to the Children’s Hospital in Sofia, donation of medical supplies to Bansko and Razlog region, medical infusion pump donation to the Children’s Hospital again with the support of our Past President Mr. Horst Stüer, donation of medical equipment to family-type placement center for children with disabilities in Sofia, District Grant project and medical bag donation Mrs. Svetlana Foteva, donation of 800 toothpastes, Ukrainian refugees support, Buy and Donate projects, Louis Braille School repair works and others, amounting more than 130 000 BGN. Together we managed to realize also the Charity Gala Concert on 09 May 2022 with the great support of Mrs. Linda Kim, where we collected around 9 000 BGN for our future MED-Bul projects. We had 7 new members who joined the club this year. We had 24 special guests out of 27 official meetings. We had a great Octoberfest, Christmas party and Fondue night at Linda’s house. The club life was great.

Mrs. Hristina Malchevska asked to keep up the great work, be united and support Mr. Rumen Rusinov in the coming year, and have even more fun. It was an honor and privilege for her to serve local communities on this position.

Afterwards, Hristina expressed appreciation to Mr. Jörg Schenk for his great Presidency of Rotary Club Sofia International and all the precious support throughout the years. Jörg is leaving Bulgaria and going to live in Germany, so it was the last meeting he attended. The President gave a gift to him, our branded mug, as a sign of gratefulness for all his great work and service in the club.

Then Jörg gave a touching speech and promised to stay in touch and visit us when he comes to Bulgaria.

Later we watched a short video about the World-famous Maestro Kamdzhalov as an introduction and afterwards we welcomed our special guest in the room who spoke about his philosophy of life and his world view.

Maestro Kamdzhalov was born in Targovishte and studied conducting in Sofia and Berlin. He specializes in master classes of world-class conductors and has impressive performances on three continents. He spoke about his search for unity between music, philosophy and science.

“True freedom is being able to realize your potential. Freedom is realizing your own potential inside and out.”

“Where there is no risk, mediocrity is guaranteed! There is no complete predictability in risk, so there is neither complete freedom nor complete limitation. These are just states and dimensions in which one must learn to live. Virtuoso performers live there permanently.”

“It’s a walk on a rope, above the height between two skyscrapers. The people who can do this thing – it’s actually a hyper-ability,” shared Maestro Kamdzhalov.

He is a winner of a number of international competitions for conductors. In 2011 he was elected by full consensus as General Music Director and Chief Conductor of Heidelberg, and since 2018 he has been Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Croatian National Opera and Philharmonic in Rijeka – European Capital of Culture 2020. In 2014, NASA and the International Center for Astronomy named it asteroid 52292, stating that “it connects the world of music with the charm of the universe.” He is a co-founder of the Yordan Kamdzhalov Foundation, established to support young Bulgarian talents and to establish the best Bulgarian musical traditions. Founder of the Music “Laboratory for Man” with conductor Maya Vasileva, a wide civic selection of personalities with outstanding musical and vocal potential. Artistic director and chief conductor of the international Bulgarian GENESIS ORCHESTRA, which unites proven Bulgarian performers from the country, Europe and the world. Co-founder and Artistic Director of “Academia Musica”, a new educational form at the “Human Laboratory”.

Followed a number of questions to the Maestro, as well as a joint group practice of all in the room to say few words together in full synchrony and finally we took a joint photo as a memory of the great evening.

Finally, Hristina thanked to our guests and club members for joining this evening.

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(15 Jun) Joint Meeting with Rotary Club Sofia Serdika (+GAL)

Joint MeetingJoint meeting with Rotary Club Sofia Serdika, Rotaract Club Sofia Serdika and Rotaract Club Sofia International was organized on 15 June 2022 in Hilton Sofia.

We were altogether 32 people and we had the pleasure to welcome 21 guests, where Raya Yankova from Rotaract Club Sofia Serdika, presented us more information about her participation in RYLA seminar.

RYLA Seminar is Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where young people can develop leadership skills while having fun and making connections. District Governors, RYLA chairs, and district RYLA committees work together to plan the event.

Raya shared that the event at RYLA shaped her in ways that are hard to describe, across all aspects of her personal and professional life. Most of all, she left with a desire to become a better leader and even move active and involved in her community. She was energized and willing to continue develop herself. She was extremely happy about the new contacts and friendships she created during the seminar and recommended the event to all eligible Rotaractors.

Finally, Hristina thanked to our guests and club members for joining this evening and remind them that next week there will be a special guest Maestro Kamdzhalov and on 2nd of July is the Handover ceremony, which is the last meeting for the current Rotarian year.

Summer meetings will be held again in the Club of the Architect in Sofia every Wednesday as of July 2022.

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(8 Jun) New Beginnings: From Behind the Iron Curtain to America Presentation (+GAL)

New Beginnings PresentationWe had the pleasure on 8 June 2022, nevertheless the rain and stormy weather, to meet in person in our home-base Hilton Sofia 12 Friends – members and guests at our 25th official meeting.

The meeting started with welcoming words by the President. Then a presentation followed about the Internal affairs – news, activities, and projects’ update (attached).

This day was very special because our dear Friend Mrs. Ani Hristova had a birthday and Hristina and all members congratulated her for the great occasion and gave her flowers. Ani is maybe our most active past President and member of the club who continuously contribute and support us in all the activities and initiatives we do. Thank you to Ani for all she is doing. It is highly appreciated.

Our President Elect Mr. Rumen Rusinov informed about his meeting with Dr. Sigrun Comati and informed about an event in September – exhibition in Rüsselsheim in Germany that we are all invited.

Afterwards, our special guest Mrs. Nina Duridanova, invited by Stamen, presented her story of her life, also depicted in the new book she has just published in Bulgarian and in English: New Beginnings: From Behind the Iron Curtain to America. Burning with desire to share the value of freedom, Antonina takes you from her plight in communist Bulgaria to the free shores of America. Following unfortunate events of life in a totalitarian regime in Bulgaria, Antonina bids goodbye to her homeland and flees to the Western world. She provides true experiences and observations of what life is in a communist society-her family’s lands and cattle being confiscated by the agricultural labor cooperatives; the censorship of the press and any literal, artistic, and scientific works from the West; religion being prohibited; and any deviation from the norm leading to detention in a labor camp. Her last crossing of the Bulgarian-Yugoslavian border almost costs Antonina her life and makes up her mind to never go back. She describes her life as an immigrant at the refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Austria, while waiting for an American visa.

Antonina is ecstatic when the plane cruises over the Statue of Liberty and lands in the most amazing city in the world-New York. She describes how she could taste, smell, feel, and touch freedom as she gets off the plane, ready to embark on new adventures. Antonina gets educated and becomes a good specialist in taxation, working for the United States Treasury Department. Ultimately, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is invited to go back to Bulgaria and fix a broken tax system as a representative of the United States government. Her work in the newly democratic society of Bulgaria paved the way for the country to become a member of NATO, escaping Soviet influence, and later being accepted in the family of the European Union.

Finally, Hristina thanked to our guests and club members for joining this evening and reminded them for the upcoming future meetings, on Wednesdays 18.45h in person in Hilton and online for those who cannot attend physically. 

After the official closing of the meeting, the fellowship continued in an informal way as usual.

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(4 June) Donation for Ukrainian Refugees in Plovdiv (+GAL)

Donation for Ukrainian RefugeesRotary Club Sofia International realized support for Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria. The club has collected during the Buy and Donate Rotary project additional 870 BGN and on 4 June 2022 a donation was made to Ukrainian families in need in the Crisis Center in Plovdiv. The President of the club travelled to the city, made the purchases and delivered them to the center. The main coordinator Mrs. Nata Ellis from Ukraine who lives in Plovdiv expressed gratitude for the donation and also showed Mrs. Hristina Malchevska the home they are reconstructing for Ukrainian families in need in Plovdiv. An abandoned hospital in the city has been provided to Ukraine Support & Renovation Foundation to host families that need shelter. Already one of the floors is ready and they are working on the other 2 levels. All the equipment and reconstruction is done by donations of businesses, help of the local authorities and personal help.

Purchases from Rotary Club Sofia International were made from Metro in Plovdiv based on the needs list: flour (60 kg), salt (20 kg), rice (36 kg), lentils (30 kg), macaroni (21 kg), sugar 30 kg, sunflower oil (18 l), tomato puree (36 pcs.), soup (6 pcs.), wet wipes (12 pcs.), toilet paper (96 pcs.), fruit baby purees (42 pcs.), baby porridge (20 pcs.).

Gratitude to all Friends who contributed with personal donations for this project: Friends from Rotary Club Sofia International: Linda, Jorg, Ani, Grant, Hristina, Claude, Inna, Svetozar, Slavena, Alberto, Boyan, Elena, Plamen Latev, Mariela, as well as Doroteya Shtereva (past member and friend of the club) and Stefan Hristov, from Rotary Club Zurich International.

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(25 May) Exhibition “Logic and Emotion” by Alberto Staykov – Albertillo (+GAL)

xhibition “Logic and Emotion”Rotary Club Sofia International organized an unofficial meeting on 25 May 2022, on the opening of exhibition of paintings by Mr. Alberto Staykov – Albertillo, supporter and past member of our club at Space Port A., 5, Triaditsa Str. in Sofia.

The name of the exhibition is “Logic and Emotion” and as Alberto says “When I create, I am emotional. Each of us is trying to recreate the world, but it’s all a product of what we’ve been through.”

The exhibition was wonderful. The artist presented to the public the idea of Him and Her, that everything begins with each one of us and what we have inside. Emotions are usually attributed to the Her, but in reality emotions and logic are in the same place, which is the brain, the main organ with which we manage our body and mind. The difference is that most men develop logic while most women develop emotions, having in mind that logic is the reasoning in which ideas or the succession of events are manifested without contradiction. On the contrary, emotions are the explosive expressions of the facts, sometimes they are chaotic and without any sense, but they are also part of our being. Adam is black and white, Eve is full of colors and each color is a different emotion, but is there emotion in logic and what is the logic of the emotions?

Alberto grew up in Colombia, returned to Bulgaria and graduated from the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts with a degree in Artistic and Applied Photography. Alberto is a photographer, who also sings, composes and paints.

A few years ago, he created a foundation and began teaching blind or visually impaired people to acquire the skills of photography, with Rotary Club Sofia International purchasing a fuser oven (a device with which the visually impaired people can “see” the photos or paintings).

Alberto participated in our last event – Charity Gala Concert, both with the production of promotional materials and amazing photos he took.

The event was visited by members of our club: Ani, Svetlana with her child, Linda, Hristina, Konstantin, Tania and Grant.

Source of the photos: BNR BG and private archive.

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(18 May) Another Donation to the Children Hospital in Sofia Realized (+GAL)

Donation Children Hospital SofiaDuring the period of 25-30 October 2021 a Charity Marathon was organized by our Rotaract Club Sofia International – ROTARUN – a great initiative of our youth organization and we are very proud of them. The participation was via mobile app Strava. More information about it can be found on the link: www.rota.run

The idea is this charity marathon to be a sustainable project annually organized. Charitable cause: medical equipment for a Bulgarian hospital in need. Sponsors of the marathon were Superhosting, Smart Organic, School Boss.

The project was completed successfully, 1,800 BGN were raised due to the active participation in the marathon and a need was identified in the Children’s Hospital in Sofia – SBAL Children’s Hospital “Prof. Dr. Ivan Mitev” – an infusion medical pump.

When Mr. Horst Stueer, past President and member of Rotary Club Sofia International, understood about the need he kindly proposed to do a personal donation of this pump for the Children’s Hospital in need.

The handover of the donation was realized on 18 May 2022 at the official meeting of Rotary Club Sofia International in Hilton Hotel. The representatives from the Hospital Dr. Tacheva, Deputy Director of the Hospital and Mrs. Legomanova were present at the meeting and accepted the donation for the hospital with gratitude.

The collected money from the marathon will be dedicated to other medical equipment projects.

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(14-15 May) XV Jubilee Conference of D-2482 in Stara Zagora (+GAL)

XV Jubilee Conference of D-2482Ms. Ani Hristova, Past President of Rotary Club Sofia International attended the XV Jubilee Conference of Rotary District 2482 Bulgaria in Stara Zagora on 14 and 15 May 2022.

The conference started on Saturday morning, with the bell and the anthems of Bulgaria and of Rotary Bulgaria. The District Governor, Mr Borislav Kadrekov opened the seminar.

Later on Mrs. Cristine Büring, Representative of the President of Rotary International Mr. Shekhar Mehta welcomed the participants and sent greetings to all Rotarians in Bulgaria from the Rotary International President. The program continued with motivational lectures delivered by our friends.

The President Elect of Rotaract Club Sofia International, Ms. Nevena Ivanova had the floor. She mentioned many cases of how Rotaract and our club worked together, like the “Buy and Donate” campaign and many others.

“When they need help – we are there, if we need help, they are doing the same and helping us! We had difficult moments with our RotaRun projects, the Rotary club encouraged us, and they said – “You can!” – and that was really important to us. I cannot express in words how happy I am, that I am part of that Rotaract club, of that Rotary family…I would like to encourage you also to work close with your Rotaract and Interact clubs. In our Sofia International family we have achieved true partnership. When the club held its Charity Gala concert on 9 May, we were there again! I am really proud and happy and in the years I hope to continue to work like that with our Rotary Club!” said Nevena.

Our friend Mr. Ibrachim Kachan, President of Rotary Club Kazanlak also gave a speech about the project of buying an Incubator for babies in the hospital in Stara Zagora.

Mr. Hristo Mihailovski, District Governor Nominee spoke on 90 years Rotary in Bulgaria.

Our hosts – Rotary Club Stara Zagora – Beroe, organized a wonderful dinner reception in Green Hill restaurant. The cause was “Тo Revive the Traditions of Bulgarian Folklore Through Music, Dances and Songs“, and they did it, by inviting talented kids from the city, who made the evening wonderful and full of energy and smiles.

On Sunday the General Assembly of Rotary Bulgaria was held.

Photo credits: Mr. Plamen Ilarionov (Rotary Club Gabrovo), Mr. Tsvyatko Kadiiski (Rotary Club Sofia) and private archive.

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(11 May) “For More Kids Joy” District Grant Successfully Realized (+GAL)

For More Kids Joy“For More Kids Joy” District Grant was successfully realized on 11 May 2022. During the Rotarian year 2021-2022 Rotary Club Sofia International has applied for a District Grant project “For More Kids Joy” where the beneficiaries are two homes for kids with disabilities in Sofia, Benkovski district.

The project is about purchasing of medical equipment for the homes, which is strongly needed for the kids and their wellbeing. The list of the needs includes:

  • Medical couch with lifting section for the head – 2 pcs;
  • Electrical patient lifter – 2 pcs;
  • Combined chair for toilet and bathroom – 2 pcs;
  • Roller with four wheels.

The project value is 3000 USD. Also a donation of 1000 USD to Rotary Foundation was a requirement of the District to realize the project.

Gratitude to our members Grant, Ani, Linda, Claude, Inna, Marc, Jörg and Hristina. Together we managed to collect 1000 USD for Rotary Foundation and the project received approval.

Also thanks for the support for the organization of the project provided by Svetozar – legal support, Marc and Plamen – financial matters, Boyan – who joined the official handover.

The official handover ceremony took place on 11 May 2022 in one of the homes in Benkovski District in Sofia. The Director of the home, the President of Rotary Club Sofia International, the Director of the company that supplied the equipment and a member of Rotary Club Sofia International were present. The equipment will be used for its purpose and for the needs of the kids in the two homes.

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During the summer break informal meetings take place at Club of the Architects Restaurant every Wednesday at 19:00.

Have a look at the map.

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