PULSE Foundation was founded on 07 July 1999 in Pernik. The initiative of a Pernik-based organisation working with victims of violence had been launched in September 1998. Not until our team had been trained in managerial skills and development of psycho-social programmes considering the specific needs of our clients, was it possible to take the risk of starting a completely new project such this. At that particular time in post-totalitarian Bulgaria, violence had not yet become an openly discussed issue, feelings and experiences of the individual had not been valued, human rights and particularly those of women and children were just some abstract ideas and no concern for human suffering had been shown.
Our first three-month project had been funded by Knowledge, success and change programme of Charity Know How, UK. This financial support enabled us to establish a centre in Pernik for support of women who had suffered domestic violence. This center had been providing professional psychological and social support for victims. Consequently the focus of our work had been widened and programmes for children and adolescents had been launched.
Changes in tendencies and value system as well as the emergence of Bulgarian civil society resulted in the Domestic Violence Act which came into force in 2005. It was this amendment which considerably helped the legal protection of victims. There had been a programme for legal protection at PULS Foundation since the very beginning of the organisation but now it had been reinforced. In 2009, Pulse joined the Bulgarian Alliance for Protection Against Domestic Violence, a network of 10 Bulgarian NGO’s united for the purposes of legal reform, impact on government and institutions and promotion of best practices in the field of protection of victims.
Another aspect, subsequently added, is the work with families (biological, foster and step families) aiming at violence prevention and child abuse, developing of parental skills and prevention of abandonment of children. Since 2011, Pulse has been participating in the Board of the National Network for Children – a network of over 100 Bulgarian NGO’s which added new dimensions of the issue of child protection in terms of its social, legal and psychological importance and debate.
In 2003 our organization faced a new challenge – establishing a Service for prevention of HIV and AIDS among drug addicts in Pernik region. Since April 2004 our out reach team has been working withinNeedles and syringes exchange programme and has been distributing information materials on safe injection practices and medical services. This initiative had been realized with the support of local authorities and institutions and funding by the Ministry of Health through the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Later, the focus of the programme was expanded adding the target group of youth population in the region and prevention of Tuberculosis.
In 2008, Pulse Foundation opened a Crisis center for accommodation of people who experienced violence. Since 2010, the Crisis center has been funded as a state delegated community service by the Bulgarian government through the Pernik Municipality. The capacity of the Center is 8 beds for short-term accommodation (up to 3 months). Pulse maintains an additional capacity of 4 more beds and long-term accommodation (6 months) thanks to funding of projects by foreign donors.
Presently, PULSE Foundation is working in three main directions:
- Centre for rehabilitation and integration of victims of domestic violence and trafficking in people;
- Initiative on violence prevention;
- Service for prevention and control of HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis among drug addicts and young people
This background makes us feel proud of the achieved results and of the acknowledgement of our efforts on the part of our donors, partners and clients.
Presently, PULSE Foundation executes the following programmes:
– Psychosocial care for people, who had suffered domestic or sexual violence, and human trafficking;
– Psychosocial care for children and adolescents, victims of violence;
– Family support programme;
– Violence prevention through informal education and training in special skills;
– Training programme for professionals from other institutions working with victims of violence;
– Legal protection of victims of violence;
– Crisis center for victims of violence;
– Youth Club “2BFriends” – youth program for volunteering, development of civic skills, zero tolerance to violence, youth mediation and peer-to-peer education;
– Prevention of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis
– Drop- in center