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Founder of Maria's World Foundation
Founder and Director of Maria's World Foundation
Grozdan Karadjov is a graduate of the First English Language School in Sofia and holds a law degree from Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. His professional career began in 1990 with the establishment of the Bulgarian Fair Elections Association. Later in the same year he became the Programme Director of Open Society Foundation. In 1997 he was appointed Secretary-General of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC). Between 1998 and 2003 he was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Bulgarian Post Bank and of the Board of Directors of RILA SOLUTIONS. From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Karadjov was the Executive Director of the Democracy Foundation. Since then he has developed and launched several successful business initiatives and undertakings.
Mr. Karadjov is a member of the Managing Board of the Centre for Economic Development.
Deputy in the 43th National Assembly (the Bulgarian Parliament), where he was elected with the ballot of the Reformist Block.
A renowned philanthropist, founder and Chairperson of the Board of Best Buddies – Bulgaria foundation and one of the founders of Maria's World Foundation.
Tsetska Karadjova is the founder and business development director of Interlang, a translation and interpretation agency, and the founder of Event Design, an event planning, organisation and management company.
Mrs. Karadjova is the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Bulgarian Donors' Forum, president of the Board of Professional Women’s Network Sofia (part of PWN Global), founding member and former member of the Board of Directors of the European Language Industry Association.
In 2006, she received the Golden feather Award for her contribution to Bulgarian culture, and in 2013 she received the Woman of the Year award in the Society category as a recognition of her devotion to people with intellectual difficulties in Bulgaria and dedicated efforts to improve the quality of their lives.
Maria's World Foundation is an organisation founded to support adults with intellectual disabilities become part of a welcoming society, enjoy healthy relationships with other people and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Miryana Siriyski has 18 years of professional experience as a social work expert in the non-governmental sector under her belt. She is also experienced in the design and implementation of public policy and social affairs programmes.
She believes that people with disabilities can and must live a dignified life in Bulgaria and works with dedication to further their cause and contribute to their full-bodied inclusion and participation in society. She came to know and grew fond of people with mental disabilities whilst working as coordinator for the Bulgarian Association of Persons with Intellectual Difficulties and a long-standing assistant of the Dutch organisation De Pasarel Bulgaria. Between 2010 and 2012 she was the Head of an advisory project implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy aiming to improve the efficiency of the system of social services available to people with disabilities in Bulgaria. In the following years she was the Director of De Pasarel Bulgaria Foundation.
Miryana has a wealth of experience as an expert, consultant, trainer and manager. She is actively involved in the social integration of vulnerable groups, deinstitutionalisation, the rights of disabled individuals, and education and social policies. Miryana supports the implementation of policies in the culture domain in Sofia as an external expert to the standing committee on education, science and culture of the Metropolitan Municipal Council. She has been a partner of Maria’s World Foundation and the Day Care Centre since the very beginning.
Fund Raising Manager
Daria Hadjidimitrova is the Sales Director of Interlang and Event Design—the biggest translation agency in Bulgaria and an events planning, organisation and management company, respectively. A professional in client-focused sales, Daria is responsible for business development and public relations at the two companies. Her professional career is mostly associated with the hotel business. For many years she was the Sales and Marketing Manager of the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan.
Daria is an MA graduate in History from Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky and holds a post-graduate degree in Marketing and Management from the University of National and World Economy.
She has been supporting the cause of Maria’s World as a volunteer since 2012, focusing on fundraising and the organisation of charity events.
Daria believes that each person has intrinsic value and deserves a chance to develop their full potential and live with hope for the future. People with disabilities must be free and equal to all others in society — free to make a choice and equal in terms of the opportunities available to them to do so.
Eli Stoyanova has a wealth of experience as group coordinator and revenue manager at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, where she gained first-rate organisational, analytical and coordination skills. She has supported Maria’s World Foundation as an active volunteer and, subsequently, as administrative assistant.
She has been supporting the administrative team of the Foundation and is responsible for daily operations, the organisation and coordination of events and fundraising activities, and project administration. She is also involved in drawing up project and programme documents for the Foundation, the submission of grant applications, the development and preparation of strategic documents, and team coordination.
She holds a BA degree in humanities with a major in Hotel Management from Portsmouth University, UK.
Day Care Centre Manager
Sonya Dzhoneva holds a Law degree from Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. She has a wealth of experience in social work and support for people with intellectual difficulties. Sonya has been in charge of a volunteer programme for one-to-one work with orphaned children and children with intellectual difficulties at the Joy (Radost) Foundation to the Veil of Our Lady Parish Centre in Sofia.
Sonya has a wealth of experience in fostering and maintaining long-standing successful partnerships with representatives of public institutions, media and the business community and has organised a number of charity initiatives. In her spare time she writes articles for an Orthodox news website and is keenly interested in modern art and culture.
Professional Chef, Expert in Service Technology
Milko Manolov is a certified chef with more than 15 years of working experience in the area of public catering and cookery. During these years Milko has held many positions across the food services industry, including cook of kitchen-made meals, maestro of pizza and deputy chef.
He loves Italian cuisine and his favourite dish is cold tomato soup with oranges.
Milko is in charge of the Kitchen Atelier at the Day Care Centre. There he teaches users various professional skills – preparation of food, customer experience and catering services for various events and occasions.
He is convinced that people with intellectual difficulties have good working potential, can acquire new skills and achieve their dreams.
Milko loves to spend his time off relaxing in natural landscapes together with his family.
Chef, Occupational Therapist
Dafina has long experience cooking hot and cold meals for the gourmet and catering industry.
Her role in the Day Care Centre is to teach users cook food at the Kitchen atelier. Everyone is fascinated with her rich variety of delicious recipes.
Dafina believes in the potential and development capabilities of people with intellectual difficulties. In her daily work she encourages them be more self-confident and independent.
She loves nature in general and the sea in particular. Dafina is proficient in Russian language.
Art Atelier Expert
Maria Dincheva has completed her MA semestrial studies in Clinical Social Work at the New Bulgarian University. She has also specialised in psychology at the same university. Her experience covers therapy sessions with clients of the Student Psychosocial Centre established by the Bulgarian Interpersonal Relations Institute of the New Bulgarian University. She has also worked as project coordination for De Pasarel Bulgaria — a Bulgarian-Dutch non-governmental organisation. Maria has participated in several training events relating to customised support planning for social services users.
She holds a BA degree in Visual Arts. Her knowledge, skills and perceptiveness when it comes to composition, colour and balance are a huge asset in the creative process at the art ateliers of the Day Care Centre.
In her spare time, Maria loves to travel, meet new people and join worthy causes. She has been a volunteer for the Read Books to Children on Haemodialysis initiative of the Haemodialysis Centre of Sofia’s Pediatric Hospital.
Art Atelier Associate
Petya is a former student of Chemistry with Pedagogy profile at Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky.
Her areas of interest are Psychology and Arts.
Petya has many years of experience encouraging children interested in Applied Arts to develop their talents.
She also has working experience as a decorator in the Two Fairies Art Shop.
Petya is keen in floristry and indeed for ten years already she is attending to the St. Peter and Paul the Apostles Church in Sofia as a volunteer florist.
Petya first met people with intellectual difficulties at the Day Care Centre and then in the Art Atelier she discovered how rewarding it can be to work with them.
Supervisor, Production Atelier
Slava Karaytcheva holds a bachelor degree in anthropology with a diploma awarded by the Houston University. Upon graduation she joined the Corps of America where in the course of three years she worked as a teacher and a volunteer in Austin, Texas.
She completed a Master in International Development Programme from the Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, a unique programme giving an opportunity to study and live on three continents.
She has worked with disadvantaged children in Austin, Texas, and the Turnava Village, Bulgaria.
Her professional interests are in the sphere of early childhood development, protection and survival.
She has been supporting the Maria's World Foundation, initially, as a volunteer at the Art Atelier and, subsequently, as a Supervisor of the Production Atelier within the team of the Daily Centre.
Consultant to the Production atelier
Zinaida Mircheva has graduated Fashion Design at Free Art Academy Jules Pascin.
She began her professional carrier as a stylist in Nova TV. Later she joined bTV, and led bTV\\\'s team of stylists for 14 years. She was in charge of the overall styling of widely known TV series and reality shows, including 'She and He', 'Bulgaria's Got Talent, 'Survivor', 'Fort Boyard', etc.
For two years now Zina has been practicing as a freelance costume designer while continuing her involvement as a stylist in various TV shows such as 'MasterChef'.
At the Day Care Centre Zina discovered the pristine and unpretentious world of people with intellectual difficulties, from which she derives emotional and creative inspiration. She consults the design of the souvenirs and joins the clients working in the Production atelier. Her creativity becomes an especially valuable asset at the atelier as she can always find the right techniques and tasks so as to encourage the clients demonstrate and develop their skills.
Ivo Bordjiev holds a BA degree in Social Work and an MA degree in Clinical Social Work from Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. His professional interests include mental health, people with disabilities and multicultural dialogue. He has participated in projects and training courses in social work and psychology in Bulgaria, Portugal, Denmark, Finland and the UK. Ivo has worked with orphaned children and different marginalised communities. In his spare time he enjoys taking part in different art and culture events and activities.
Simona Zarkova is a graduate of the National Academy of Music 'Prof. Pancho Vladigerov', where she majored Philosophy of Music.
Simona realised she has a mission to carry in the non-government sector during her work for the Veil of Our Lady Foundation. At the Foundation she was responsible for a programme titled 'Ladder', the objective of which is to prevent dependences among 8th to 12th grade students. In 2014–2015 Simona was the coordinator of annual competitions organised by Yordan Kamdzhalov Foundation. She has long years of experience tutoring young children in the area of applied arts.
Simona also possesses administrative skills in important domains such as project management, organisation and conduct of events, and collaboration with government institutions and NGOs.
Her special areas of interest are green technology and innovation, sustainable development, emotional intelligence and its horizons, and social entrepreneurship.
Simona supports Maria's World Foundation because she believes in our cause and values the opportunity to fully engage with our clients, people with intellectual difficulties.
Gergana has graduated the National Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) where she earned a Master degree in Painting.
She is an experienced organiser and facilitator of educational activities for both children and adults. Gergana has also been involved in various training events and projects related to social work in Bulgaria.
She has teaching experience as a visiting lecturer at the NAFA and at the Education Department of the National Art Gallery 'Square 500'.
She began supporting Maria's World Foundation as a volunteer and later joined the Day Care Centre team as a work coach.
Her professional interests span multiple areas, including education, development during early childhood, and painting.
Clinical psychologist, Consultant
Diana Asenova is a Master in Clinical and counseling psychology with supervised clinical experience. She enhanced her professional skills through specialised practicums in various countries such as Austria, the U.K., Spain and Greece. She is a member of the Bulgarian Society of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. In 2004 she became part of the team which launched the first resident service for people with mental retardation and/or other mental disturbances. Since 2005 Diana is actively involved in training and supervision support of many teams working in the social and healthcare systems. Since 2006 she is coaching a psychotherapeutic support group of parents whose children have physical, mental or psychiatric disorders. She has long-time experience is supporting children, young people and adults who suffer various mental disturbances or existential challenges, as well as their families. Diana Asenova is the author of many publications in professional compendia.
Clinical psychologist and family psychotherapist, Consultant
Zlatka Mihova has long-time clinical experience as a clinical psychologist and family psychotherapist. She honed her skills as a post-graduate student in the area of services for individuals with intellectual difficulties at Lebenshilfe, Germany. Zlatka Mihova holds a range of titles, including Associate Professor, Doctor of Psychology, teaching professor at New Bulgarian University and Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. She has contributed to a number of projects aimed at the development of social services for disadvantaged children and adults, and has taught psycho-social rehabilitation to many professionals in Central and Eastern Europe.
Dr. Mihova has provided staff training and organisational advisory services to daycare centres for individuals with severe mental disorders in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kirgizstan and Albania.
Our Daycare Centre as well as many community support centres for children and their families benefit from her support as a professional supervisor.