Dear Deputy Prime Minister,
Dear Representatives of Municipalities,
Thank you for inviting me to this information event to promote early childhood development services funded under the Human Resources Development Operational Program 2014-2020.
Early childhood development is a top priority for the World Bank as the evidence clearly demonstrates that development during child’s earliest years holds the key to success later in life.
We would like to congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister and his team and each of the municipalities for what you have achieved through Social Inclusion Project supported by the World Bank. The project has provided services to children from disadvantaged and poor families, including Roma, in 66 municipalities across Bulgaria.
I have had the privilege to visit a number of these centers first in Sofia, then in Vratsa, in Yambol, Burgas, and Blagoevgrad. This has been one of the most enjoyable and satisfying parts of my job. Every children’s center I visit the children are happy, the staff is committed and energized and the parents are delighted that their kids are progressing. I met one mother – Galya in Yambol. She has a son with significant development disabilities. She told me that before the center was opened she was in despair, about to give up her son because she couldn’t cope anymore. But now her son is part of the children’s center and is improving. She told me that for the first time she has hope for the future. This is just one example of the transformational effect your services have on people’s lives all across Bulgaria.
Today’s event is very significant for us as it marks the transformation from a pilot to a mainstream program. We would like to wish the Deputy Prime Minister, his team and all of you every success as you scale up and look forward to the day when every child in Bulgaria has the opportunity to benefit from these services.