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Wonder Garden cultivates a better life for people with disabilities


Dobrich, BULGARIA – A growing social enterprise here gives 22 intellectually disabled people a permanent place to work, ensuring a secure environment and regular paychecks.

Called “The Wonder Garden” because it transformed a barren plot of land in Dobrich – a small town in Bulgaria – into a beautiful garden with vegetables and flowers, this program thrives because of the work of these disabled people.

People working in the field at The Wonder Garden. (Kristiyan Yulzari/YJI)

Simona Kovacheva carries a box in front of a greenhouse at The Wonder Garden. (Kristiyan Yulzari/YJI)

There are still raging perceptions about this population, including that people with intellectual disabilities are unable to work or that they are dangerous for their community.

In Bulgaria and in some other countries, these people still live in special housing run by social service agencies, located in remote places far from the big cities.

Despite all prejudices, “The Wonder Garden” – a social enterprise, founded in April 2019 by the Saint Nicholas Wonderworker Foundation – shows the great potential of these people.

Mariya Metodieva is the woman who first came up with the idea for founding a social enterprise where mentally disabled people can work. She strongly believes that people with intellectual disabilities must be treated as full members of society.

Kristiyan Yulzari is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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