Project „Firefly“

We are launching a new campaign, we don’t know its end and how broad it will become. This is Project Firefly.

Children’s feelings, a friendly hospital environment, preserving the social integration of hospitalized children  – this is Project Firefly.

The treatment and recovery of child patients depend not only on the living conditions in the hospital and the quality of treatment, but also on the emotional state of the child.

Getting seriously sick is a huge stress for any child and their family. This is further enhanced by the fact that the child is removed from their usual daily environment and routine. Medical manipulations and isolation become the new and incomprehensible everyday routine for the child, and this greatly increases the risk of lasting emotional trauma.

Psychologists describe the perfect healing environment for sick children as “a hospital that does not look like one” which can have tremendous influence on the quality and the speed of the healing process. 

Firefly’s objective is to change the emotional environment in order to improve the treatment of child patients:

  • From a scary hospital environment  – into a joyful space that reminds children of their own rooms at home and makes child patients forget they are in a hospital. 
  • From an environment of an information vacuum, isolation and alienation – into an environment of empathy, awareness and inclusion of all the medical staff, the parents and the child itself in the treatment process.


Firefly – colorful, cheerful, cozy and sometimes noisy
With the previous campaigns of Za Dobroto Project and Za Dobroto Foundation we improved the material conditions for patient treatment – we repaired wards, installed air conditioners, blinds, provided medical equipment, specialized cots, venoscopes, ultrasounds, etc. The most significant change for children, however, were the painted walls in the rooms and corridors. Children do not comprehend the importance of equipment and apparatus, but the fairytale creatures on the walls are part of their familiar childhood world, attracting their attention and distracting them from frightening medical manipulations, forced stay in a foreign place, being detached from kindergarten, school and their friends. 

Firefly is:

  • A special space accommodated for children in the hospital ward outside the hospital rooms. There children go to have fun and learn through play, stay socially active and de-stress. This space is colorful and cheerful, with no hospital beds, drip stands, medicine bowls and clad-in-white medical staff. It has special nooks and a large selection of different types of games, books, drawing materials and „home cinema“ with children’s movies, a „painting wall“ – a place with a suitable coverage where children can paint on the wall.
  • Children’s hospital rooms where patients and children can have their personal touch. With drawings on the walls, but with a dedicated picture frame where the parent could hang a favorite drawing over the child’s bed during their stay. A corner with a colorful table and chairs, which allows the child to spend time out of the hospital bed; a tablet or another electronic device provided by the hospital that the child can use to read fairy tales, watch movies, or listen to music.


Firefly – cute, empathetic and informed

The cold stethoscope, peripheral venous catheter, syringe, and the different devices scare the child. Doctors who do not explain what they are doing and why, scare both children and parents. The detachment of medical staff, often attributed to not having time to spare or attempting to protect oneself emotionally from the daily encounter of illness and pain, literally harms all participants in the treatment process, leads to confrontations between the medical staff, parents and children, and further complicates treatment.

Firefly is awareness:

  • A series of picture books that familiarize children with the basic medical manipulations and why they are not scary.
  • A hospital guide for parents containing information about what is where and whom parents are to approach if necessary, as well as the rules for the hospital stay.
  • A protocol created together with the hospital team on how the medical teams should inform parents and children about examinations, procedures and treatment so that parents and children are involved in making some of the decisions and establishing a climate of understanding and trust.
  • A feedback form, used by parents and children to evaluate the medical teams, which make team members more satisfied with their work and change their attitude towards child patients. At the end of the feedback form there would be space for personal messages to the staff.


Firefly is sympathy:

  • By providing teachers and psychologists, artists, students of various specialties and volunteers who work with children and break the hospital rhythm. They will be the „firefly teachers“.
  • By creating the titles firefly-doctor and firefly-nurse, as ambassadors for the new relationship between doctors and patients. The title is granted based on the feedback forms filled-out by parents and children.
  • By creating firefly-mediators – trainee-doctors and representatives of different communities who facilitate the dialogue between patients and medical staff.
  • By creating a permanent Firefly Exhibition of children’s drawings made during their stay in the hospital:


Firefly is empathy:

  • Doctors and medical staff work in a very stressful environment and they need support. Forms of support: seminars with psychologists to help them overcome stress; presentation of international good practices; short team-building exercises in the workplace, including role-playing games.
  • Parents and children with lower social status often end up hospitalized. The Firefly Cloakroom is a small place where parents and volunteers can leave items in good condition, from toys to clothes and shoes for hospitalized children and adults who might be in need of them. The Cloakroom is administered by the nursing staff or by volunteer trainees, graduates or medical students.


Firefly is a choice

The information about Firefly will reach all hospitals with children’s wards. It is up to them whether they would like to apply and create their own Firefly.

They would need to provide a room for the Firefly space that does not need major repairs,  to be decorated and retrofitted with furniture and appliances.

Only in exceptional cases the project can organize minor cosmetic repairs, if the condition of the premises requires it. In special cases the project  might also provide medical equipment and apparatus necessary for the normal operation of the ward.

It is necessary for the medical teams to want the change and to articulate their own ideas how to make it happen in their ward, according to its specifics. We are looking forward to receiving their motivation letters at the foundation’s email address.


Through Project Firefly we want to change the interactions and the environment within children wards and to motivate all participants in the treatment process to put children and their best interest in the center. Furthermore, we would like to make the institutions related to child healthcare to finally assume their role of responsible and caring state stakeholders.


For donations to Za Dobroto Foundation:

Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD
IBAN: BG89UBBS81551012773591