10years FIFA ambassador for SOS children’s villages
“I am an ambassador of a wonderful idea – to give love, security and protection to children who lost their parents and home. I’ll try to help SOS children’s villages using my name. The more people join the idea, the better.”
In May 2008 it has been ten years since Krasimir Balakov was declared for FIFA ambassador for Bulgarian SOS children’s villages. This jubilee is an occasion to make a review of the long-term friendship between Krasi and his young and already grown-up fans from Tryavna and Dren.
The first meeting between the children from SOS villages and Krasi Balakov was held in the residence “Boyana” in the distant 1996. The occasion for the meeting between the children and the football heroes from the USA-1994 was Children’s day – 1st June. The captain of the Bulgarian football team Krasi Balakov immediately found way to children’s hearts. That’s why his nomination for FIFA ambassador two years later was not a surprise to anyone. Krasi eagerly took the missionary role of Goodwill ambassador led by his wish to help children and youngsters included in SOS children’s village programmes; to popularize SOS association activities and to attract new friends and granters.
During these ten years there hasn’t been an occasion for Krasi Balakov to come back in Bulgaria after tiring games or trainings and not to visit his young friends. It’s difficult to list all the holidays such as Easter and Christmas when Krasi was in SOS children’s villages in Tryavna and Dren – they are so numerous. Photo albums in both SOS villages are full of photographs showing nice memories…
So many are the meetings with Krasi and youngsters from SOS youth homes especially the one in Veliko Tarnovo. The conversations are about problems concerning young people – ambitions and hard work, persistency and luck, drug addiction, tobacco smoking – topics that Krasi discusses with his own children whenever he needs to give advice.
Krasimir Balakov is among the most generous granters to the Bulgarian association SOS children’s villages. At the very beginning of 2002 18 000 euro were transferred to the bank account of the association thanks to his contribution. The sum was raised in result of the Small goal football tournament held by Daimler Chrysler Corporation in Germany at the indoor hall in the town of Sindelfigen near Stuttgart. The sum is used to build a center for psychological and educational counseling, computer studies and applied arts in SOS children’s village in Tryavna.
The month was May and the year 2003. A spectacular spectacle put an end of Krasi Balakov’s career as an active football player. During the event Krasi raised the enormous sum of 50 000 euro. On 18 October the same year in the presence of the President of Republic of Bulgaria honoring the 10th anniversary of SOS children’s village Tryavna, Krasi served with a check the generous donation. According to his will it was used for building the second SOS youth home in Veliko Tarnovo.
Three years later Krasi Balakov became patron of a charity campaign for fundraising under the motto “Somebody loves you” aimed for raising money for furniture for SOS youth home. Sofia. Start for the campaign was a donation for 5 000 leva personally transferred by the eminent footballer. Krasi was filmed in a special video dedicated to the campaign and thanks to his active contribution over 60 000 leva was raised.
On 9 October 2008 SOS children’s villages Bulgaria organized press conference in honor of 15 years from the official opening of SOS children’s village Tryavna. Special guest at the press conference was the FIFA-ambassador for Bulgarian SOS children’s villages from 1998 up to now. He received a jubilee certificate “10years FIFA-ambassador” and a ball painted by children from SOS children’s villages as a sign of gratitude.
The certificate was given by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rosen Kolarov, chairman of the Managing Board of SOS Children’s villages Bulgaria: “On behalf of SOS Children’s villages Bulgaria I would like to say thank you to Mr Balakov who has been helping us for more than ten years. What we appeal all Bulgarians is the prolonged commitment and Mr Balakov is a successful example of that. We are proud that such a successful and socially engaged citizen has been supporting the cause for ten years and we believe that his example will be followed by a large number of supporters to the idea “SOS children’s villages”.