MANUAL FOR SAMARITAN WORK
Editor's Note: We use the "Manual for Samaritan Work" on provisional basis. All Samaritan organizations in Bulgaria were abolished after year 1947 and specifically the Bulgarian Red Cross was remodeled under the directives of the U.S.S.R., completely, with a new preamble and codex. The fact that we use this manual for the purposes of Rockefeller's and Near-East Foundation's activities in Bulgaria is double-fold ó 1) we don't have primary or secondary materials on the work of the foundations at hand; and, 2) the resume below was gathered accidentally from a newly published archive and is part of a larger constituent study, ditto.
ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION AND AMERICAN NEAR-EAST FOUNDATION IN BULGARIA
INITIATIVES IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL WORK IN 1920íS AND 1930íS
The first contacts of the Bulgarian institutions with Rockefeller Foundation were established after 1919 and had for their purpose to further expand the effect of the American charitable activities in the sphere of public health services and educational system. In the interwar period the Foundationís philanthropic program aimed at giving assistance in the field of public medical health and sanitation as well as public agriculture, which at that time lacked qualified personnel.
During the whole period the joint initiatives of the Rockefeller and the Near-East Foundations remained most steady ones. In 1926, the two foundations appointed expert groups to deal with agricultural, economical and health care matters. Those groups were supposed to investigate on spot the problems the countries might be experiencing, and to assist in the working out of a common philanthropic program in this part of the world. The contacts of the two foundations were gradually strengthening. Ralph Collins (who was representing Rockefeller Foundation), Leontii Feldman (chief representative of the American Near-East Foundation for Bulgaria) and Selskar Gunn (economic director) were appointed permanent representatives for Bulgaria. They often participated in discussions over various projects of the Department of Public Health and the Ministry of Agriculture ó the projects focused primarily on the physical culture and the professional orientation of the young people from Sofia and the province, making the populated areas and the private properties cleaner, meliorating the living conditions in the out-of-town neighborhoods, etc.
The contacts of the Near-East Relief with the Bulgarian governmental and non-governmental institutions were established in the early 1920ís. The Near-East Foundation was established in 1929. As regards its work in the regions in the 1930ís, the Foundation had for its primal principle to assist in improving the health care services and carrying out reforms in the sphere of education. These constitute the platform which served as a base for the work of the Foundation in Bulgaria, i.e. the building of a network of health stations (together with the Union for Childrenís Protection in Bulgaria), summer childrenís playgrounds , kindergartens, organizing inquiries into the eating routines and the budget of the rural households all over the country, working out a concept underlying the curriculum of the schools for agriculture (together with the Department of Public Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Public Property).
Foundationís representatives drew up projects for establishing experimental hygienic centres in a couple of villages from different parts of the country. Leontii Feldman was keeping in touch with the Union for Childrenís Protection in Bulgaria for the purpose of organizing playgrounds for children and kindergartens as well as training courses for teachers.
Meanwhile, in 1934, the central agency of the Near-East Foundation in Athens approved a general plan for its future charitable activity in the Balkan countries. The intention was to "improve the public health services and the overall condition of the farm-workers". The Foundationís representatives took into consideration also the Communes Law that was amended after the coup díetat from 19 May, 1934. This law obliged the communes to maintain health centers and veterinary dispensaries, to cooperate with local medical institutions and to cover part of the expenses for the poor families, sick and homeless children and elderly people. This enabled the American organization to coordinate more easily its activities with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Health, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Public Property within the frames of the Foundationís program for assistance in Bulgaria.
GROWTH OF BULGARIAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS
During the 1920s, Bulgaria experienced an economic boom, and trade with the United States began to increase. American firms built grain elevators, dockyards, and dock facilities at the port of Varna. In 1928 Bulgaria was the largest exporter of attar of roses (used to make perfume) to the United States, and also a major exporter of tobacco to the U.S. In 1922 the Bulgarian Finance Ministry made an agreement with the American Banknote Company to print a large quantity of Bulgarian currency in the United States.
There was even the beginning of a thriving film piracy of American movies in Bulgaria. On May 3, 1925, the New York Times reported: "Picture pirates keep American moving pictures agents on the jump in the Balkans. There are no copyright laws and treaty provisions which protect American films in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, and consequently those countries are the happy hunting ground for film thieves. A film stolen in transit is copied and the copies sold to the Balkan countries."
In 1928 Americans provided humanitarian assistance following a major earthquake in southern Bulgaria. American Foundations were also active in Bulgaria. The Rockefeller Foundation supported educational institutions in Bulgaria, constructed a building for the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Sofia. The Rockefeller Foundation spent about three hundred thousand dollars in Bulgaria, sending thirty doctors to study in the United States, sharing the cost of establishing a National Health Institute, and carrying out a major campaign to eradicate malaria.
In 1925 there were only 125 trained nurses in Bulgaria. The American Red Cross organized a school of nursing to train new medical personnel. The Near East Foundation, founded in 1930 with the assets of the Near East Relief organization, built fourteen playgrounds in Sofia and thirty-four around the country.
American schools also continued to play an important role. In 1935 the American College in Sofia had 254 men students and 237 women students from all over Bulgaria, providing an American-style secondary education, complete with athletics, an orchestra and chorus, student council, and yearbook.
Picture 1: Sample illustration on the text above.
(i). See this photo from the village of Elhovo, where major anti-malaria work was carried out in 1920s and 1930s. On the first row ó unknown woman, unknown man, Prof. N. H. Swellengrebel from League of Nations (1), Dr. R. Collins from Rockefeller's Foundation (3), Dr. A. Mackenzie (2), Dr. K. Markov as Inspector General for Malaria (4), and unknown man.
Copyright © 2009 by the author.