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3 December 2020


In the last 8 years we have come a long way:

  • from the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bulgaria (2012)
  • to numerous initiatives for the abolition of the guardianship regime and the introduction of a system of measures to support and protect people with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems.

We kept moving forward along this path with a group of organizations, parents and self-advocates within the Next Step program, launched as a pilot initiative in 2012 by the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law, the Bulgarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and the Global Initiative in Psychiatry - Sofia. The aim of the program is to systematically test measures to support people with intellectual disabilities or people with mental health problems (MHP) and to monitor the results and document specific conclusions on the basis of which legal solutions are proposed.

Throughout those 8 years, the Program has piloted support measures in various localities - in Sofia (Association "Autism Association" and Global Initiative in Psychiatry Sofia), Vidin (RPLUZ), Plovdiv (Association "Parallel World"), Dobrich (Foundation "St. Nicholas the Wonderworker"), Lovech ("Protection" Association) and Bobov Dol ("Innovation" Association).

Many organizations from all over the country joined in support of people with disabilities, hundreds of professionals began to apply the standards of the Convention and to recognize the equality of people with disabilities before the law - as individuals with rights who deserve to be supported and to be a the helm of their lives.  



  • More than 150 people with intellectual and mental health problems are supported in making decisions about their own lives;
  • 7 people no longer have guardianship, and dozens we have prevented from being interdicted at all;
  • Relatives, social workers and professionals - over 1,500 from all over the country have gone through our training and are aware of the possible alternative to guardianship;
  • Over 5000 participants in 100 of our events on the topic are involved in the problem
  • Over 4,000 pages of analysis written by us answer the questions of why, what and how can matters change and, most importantly, what does this change mean for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems and their families;
  • More than 12,000 people signed the 7,000 National Citizens' Initiative, calling for a new law to repeal the interdiction and introduce an alternative to support measures.


The guardianship is still the only "solution" for more than 8,000 people in Bulgaria - the power over their lives is in the hands of another.

Guardianship has remained unchanged since 1949 being the "solution" the state offers to people with intellectual and mental health problems - and interdiction is a form of social death because it excludes people as a factor in their own lives thus creating even more damage.

The 2008 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls for all forms of guardianship to be repealed. Bulgaria has already ratified the UN Convention in 2012, which obliges it to change its legislation. However the BAN continues to be here.



People with disabilities in Bulgaria are still extras in the film of their own lives. We are launching a petition that will turn them into protagonists:



We know from our own experience that guardianship does not help, but makes people more vulnerable and without opportunities for protection. We know that there is another opportunity for these folks and that is supported decision making.

In BORN READY you will see a small part of the people who are able to  live with dignity and free to dream.

Support their dreams, their parents and families, all professionals who know that everyone has their rights and with the necessary support can lead their own lives.

SIGN THE PETITION and let us show we are not alone in our demand for justice and dignity for people with disabilities.

Let's ask the state together:

  • To ensure equality before the law for all;
  • To repeal the interdiction by restricting the exercise of rights and
  • to enable the introduction of a new legal instrument - supported decision-making, through which people with disabilities can exercise their rights.

The petition to abolish the guardianship will continue until April 2021 and will include initiatives throughout the country, led by the Association "Regional Society for Support of Persons with Mental Disabilities" (Vidin), Association "Parallel World" (Plovdiv), Association "Protection Lovech" (Lovech), Association "Ruse Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities - BALIZ" (Ruse), Association for Support of Persons with Mental Disabilities (Varna), Association "Association Autism" (Sofia), Association "Innovation" (Bobov dol), St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Foundation (Dobrich).


The campaign is implemented by the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law and the Bulgarian Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Campaign and production concept: Fine Acts Foundation

Information on the petition and how you can support us can be found at: