In 2007, Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children, a BBC documentary film, caused an international stir. People around the globe were shocked to witness the neglect of children in a country which had just become a part of the European Union. Citizens of other countries were filled with emotions ranging from anger to sympathy upon seeing Bulgarian children being abused and dying while in State care, after having been abandoned by their parents due to certain disabilities.
Following the broadcast of the initial documentary, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Ministers travelled to Bulgaria in order to call for change; they requested permission to view conditions in other institutes and donated money to initiate a process of de-institutionalization throughout the country.
Eighteen months later, Director Kate Blewett returned to Bulgaria, determined to document how the lives of those featured in her original film had changed since then. Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children: Revisited – which runs for 60 minutes – juxtaposes past and present scenarios throughout its run-time, showcasing how even seemingly damaged children can be given hope and brought back into society with the correct care and attention.
The power of television to bring about tangible changes is evident here – this documentary serves as proof that no child should ever be written off as lost or forgotten. The story it tells is one that resonates with viewers all over world: it highlights what can be achieved when we stand together against oppression and adversity, when we put forth our efforts towards helping those less fortunate than us.
Do yourself a favour and give Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children: Revisited a watch – you won’t regret it. See first-hand how powerful and inspiring stories such as these can be when they are told on film; feel your heart swell with pride knowing that despite all obstacles faced, anything is possible when done out of love instead of apathy.