New grassroots charity with Perthshire volunteers and donors raises over £5,500 for Ukrainian refugees

A new grassroots charity with volunteers and donors in Perthshire has raised more than £5,500 for Ukrainian refugees.

Angels for Bulgaria was formed by Bulgarian expats in the UK in 2020 and collects donations from around the world for a variety of worthwhile causes in Bulgaria, primarily focused on helping the poor or vulnerable.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the organization has embarked on a fundraising effort to help the 70,000 Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Bulgaria so far.

Donations, totaling £5,500, came from across the UK, including Errol, through online fundraisers.

Fundraising events at community centers including traditional Bulgarian dances, costumes and food were also organised.

Stella Ivanova, Director and Founder of Angels for Bulgaria, said: “So far, media coverage has mainly focused on refugees arriving in Poland, Romania and Moldova.

“But there are also important figures in Bulgaria.

“We have had conversations with a few organizations working with refugees in Bulgaria about their needs.

“What they observe is that this first wave of refugees is not the poorest, so some of them are fending for themselves.

“But they expect a second wave of poorer and more needy people, and by then donations should have dropped significantly.

“So what we’re doing is holding onto donations until they’re needed and we’ll continue to fundraise as well.”

Bulgaria and Ukraine have long-established ties dating back several centuries.

About 130,000 ethnic Bulgarians have lived in Ukraine, mostly around Odessa and other southwestern regions, since the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when they came as refugees during the Russo wars -Ottomans.

Today, ironically, their descendants are returning the other way – to Bulgaria – as refugees from the current war.

The refugees also include ethnic Ukrainians and other ethnicities in Ukraine who are being helped by the Bulgarian community.

Meanwhile, around 79,000 Bulgarian nationals live in the UK, including around 40,000 in Scotland.

Many have joined fundraising efforts, while those with property in Bulgaria have offered their homes free to refugees.

Donations will likely go towards essential items for new arrivals, such as clothing, toiletries, children’s toys and medicine.

Stella added: “We are very grateful to everyone who has donated to this cause and is supporting Angels for Bulgaria. Our team is always looking for new people to get involved in our cause, so if you would like to donate or volunteer with us, please get in touch.

“We are an entirely grassroots organization run by donations – we receive no government grants and are not affiliated with any political party.”

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