The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has served in Bulgaria for the past 30 years. Following the long tradition of providing high-quality care to people in need, it recently established a new medical-social center in the town of Pazardzhik.
The center was launched with several goals: to ensure the prevention of socially significant diseases; to provide free medical check-ups and dental treatments; to organize and conduct psycho-therapeutic trainings, seminars, and conferences; and, finally, to be a place for development of social entrepreneurship, as well as other social activities.
The new Center for Medical and Social Services building is 390 square meters (5,000 sq. ft.) and has 10 rooms, a yard, and a parking lot. The overall cost of the project was US$17,200. For this amount, ADRA staff and volunteers were able not only to build the premises but also to equip it with a dental and a medical office with Doppler, ultrasound, ECG, bone density machine, screening devices, and more. Additional office space provides an area in which the social entrepreneurship programs can be planned by representatives of local vulnerable groups. There is also space for special social projects like canning of honey and lavender essential oils.
The construction of the medical-social center is a miracle in itself, according to Marian Dimitrov, ADRA Bulgaria director. “Within one year, we went from a barren field to the current beautiful center — despite the pandemic, the war, the inflation,” Dimitrov said. “The main purpose of the project is for the people of Pazardzhik to rediscover their health and to find some diseases early enough in order to prevent more serious consequences for their health. We remain strong, and will continue to support this project!”
Thomas Petracek, head of Programs and Emergency Response for ADRA Europe, said during the inauguration ceremony, “We are here because we see the needs of the people and we want to meet those needs. My wish is that this center should serve in the future — as we have in our motto — to share compassion, justice, and love.”
The center has been established with the financial support of ADRA and another Christian nonprofit organization, whose representative said at the grand opening, “Today, we celebrate a miracle, the incredible idea to bless the lives of many people. May the workers there be blessed to know that they serve humanity in need.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by municipal authorities not only from the town of Pazardzhik but also from the nearby smaller towns that plan to send their vulnerable people to the center in the hope of finding cure and care.
This is not the first project in which ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church have worked side by side. Milen Georgiev, president of the Adventist Church in Bulgaria, said, “Just [like] the church has found a way to support society through ADRA, so ADRA, in the face of the church, finds people who want to get involved in its projects.”
The medical-social center in the town of Pazardzhik is the second of its kind in the country. The first one was established 20 years ago in the Roma community in Kyustendil. In that city, 20 houses for the families most in need were built there. The work of ADRA and the Adventist Church has greatly influenced the local community. This project will continue the work as ADRA and the Adventist Church share the joint vision of helping people whenever and wherever they need it.