Text: Magdalena Gigova
When we acquainted the winner of the 2020 Novel of the Year Prize, Theodora Dimova, with the new initiative of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ to create a platform where anyone can propose a socially significant cause which, following approval by the administrator, will be announced and appropriately presented, the writer responded with a decisive statement: ‘I support it!’
She then expressed her vision of donorship as an act of sharing:
When there is a mention of donorship, an episode from Ludmila Ulitskaya’s magnificent novel, ‘The Kukotsky Enigma’, comes to mind. The protagonist, a hereditary and charismatic doctor, a gynaecologist, in a strange twist of fate, finds himself among the top Party hierarchy of the Stalinist regime. He receives a huge salary. And every time he brings it home, he, his wife and their housekeeper begin to distribute it—to relatives who are pushed for money, to a widowed woman with three children, to a porter whose husband is seriously ill, to distant cousins, to the neighbours. For each of them they wrap the money and label it, until what is left for them out of his salary covers only the barest necessaries, nothing compared to what they are giving to everyone else.
My generation was never taught this; we have never seen such behaviour in action. Donorship was even subject to a tacit ban, as it was considered a showy act of material superiority in a society where everyone was equal. That is why the possibility of donorship is so alien to our lives, while its nobility is alien to our souls. But I think that noble ideas are never forgotten; they may be buried for a while, but sooner or later they will surface again.
This idea is especially valuable today when people around us are losing their jobs or are forced by pandemic circumstances to live on lower incomes or, due to lack of funds, suffer deprivation, or are simply forgotten by the world and its debased values. A human being is happy and joyful when others also feel happy and joyful. And what could be better for you than being able to share what you have with another who is deprived of it? The spur to giving comes, not when you have a lot, but when you realise what it means to have nothing, wrote Theodora Dimova.
What is the essence of the idea of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’?
To create a platform where anyone can, not only offer a socially significant cause, but also to support someone else’s campaign—through a financial or material donation—or to enrol as a volunteer if it appeals to them. Art. 4 of the Law on NEF states that the Fund guarantees the fulfilment of the will of its donors, i.e., everyone who has given their support for a certain initiative can be confident that the procedure will be impeccably observed.
The credo of the future platform is expressed clearly and simply:
We are awaiting your ideas for the future platform or your suggestions for a short title (also understandable abroad) at the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.