The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria and the Agency for Social Assistance signed a collaboration agreement.
On the 6th November 2020 The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria (UGLB) and the Agency for Social Assistance (ASA) signed a collaboration agreement. It was signed by the Grand Master of UGLB Nikolay Bozhilov and the Executive Director of ASA Rumyana Petkova.
On this occasion, the Grand Master of UGLB stated:
“Considering the seriousness of the transformation which affects all the aspects of economic, political, intellectual and spiritual life, we cannot ignore the inevitable changes which occurred and will continue to accompany us along our life journey and our activities of free people and members of one of the most ancient orders in the world. The constant change which is a result of this global problem puts us in a situation to respond adequately and in a timely manner, to increase our charity activities and to help people in distressed circumstances. Our principles, goals and ideas of empathy are focused on helping and supporting those in need. We have always supported our country and the Institutions of the State. With this regard, today we enter into our joint collaboration with the ASA through a national campaign which carries the message “Caring for everyone.”
The signing of this agreement, less than a month after the Bulgarian Freemasons chose Nikolay Bozhilov to be the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria, is the first decisive step of the new leadership of the Masonic fraternity to achieve one of its main goals – the opening of Bulgarian Freemasonry towards society through answering the necessities where needed and by giving more active support to the State Institutions and public organisations instigating vital activities for our fellow citizens, supporting health, education, culture, encouraging human virtues and spiritual growth.
The agreement between UGLB and ASA is a significant event, marking the beginning of a close partnership between the Grand Lodge and a State Institution. It was signed in a crucial moment for our nation. It is the first of its kind in the 28 years of history of Bulgarian Freemasonry.
Freemasonry in its more than 300 years of history, being the most ancient society of free men with a good name, always had its beneficial impact on social development and progress worldwide.
Beneficence and charity are true characteristics of every Freemason. The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria is involved in charities which aim is the development and promotion of foundation human values. These actions are based on the fundamental masonic principles of Brotherly love, which leads us to take care for our families, our fraternity and our society; of Benevolence towards our Brethren and towards those in need outside our Temple; and Charity which supports the noble causes important for our nation; supporting science, culture, education, schools, libraries, as well as, individual talented children and young people in their professional and personal development; caring and medical treatment, helping the socially disadvantaged, the disabled or just people in need of care, also assistance in repairing damage from natural disasters.
In the context of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, UGLB has its major priority which is the health protection, the effective support of the health system, certain help and assistance to its brothers and to the endangered people in need who do not have someone to rely on. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many acts of charity were made by individual Brothers, Lodges, the Charity and Mercy Foundation and the UGLB itself, supporting medical institutions and people in need. Part of this activity is valued at over 250,000 BGN and is published on the website of UGLB.
The cooperation agreement with the ASA marks the beginning of the national campaign “Caring for Everyone”. It will develop over time in adherence to the health situation in the country, it will be filled with content which meets the specific needs of helping people for whom a hand given in the right time can be lifesaving. UGLB and ASA will cooperate in organising, coordinating and implementing a national campaign for free provision of antigenic tests for COVID-19 to those identified as needy and people with low income who have been in contact with infectious agents or show the first symptoms of the disease. The collaboration and coordination between the two partner organisations will be carried out on a regional basis via the structures of UGLB and ASA, in compliance with the principles of professional independence, objectivity and reliability. The national campaign “Caring for Everyone” will continue, as long as there is a need to perform antigen tests for those in need. For this purpose, UGLB envisages that over 100,000 BGN will be collected through donations from the Brothers.
The documented partnership with ASA has its prehistory. From the very beginning of the pandemic crisis, at the end of March 2020, Grand Master Nikolay Bozhilov together with Bro Vladimir Kostov, Manager of the “St. Panteleymon” Medical Centre, started the initiative “To be empathetic and humane”, which quickly found the support of a number of Lodges and Brothers.
During the past months, was provided free medical care to elderly people and those for whom access to medical care is difficult or impossible, where specialized transportation was provided free of charge. The two brothers donated personal funds to perform free patient tests for COVID-19 and personally participated in the Medical Centre,
Within that time were made the first contacts with the Agency for Social Assistance and its Executive Director Mrs. Rumyana Petkova when the beginning of the future collaboration was programmed.