From left, Mark O'Sullivan of the Cedar Foundation, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Valentina Simeonova, Hilton Durban chef Jonathan Naidoo, South African ambassador to Bulgaria Sheila Camerer and former president Zhelyu Zhelev.
Former president Zhelyu Zhelev was among guests at a South African Gala Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Sofia on March 8, held to raise funds for the Cedar Foundation charity.
The foundation works in partnership with national and local Bulgarian authorities, other NGOs and many volunteers to support the process of developing efficient services for people with disabilities.
Speaking at the event, the Cedar Foundation’s Mark O’Sullivan said that the ultimate sign of progress in society would be when it was possible for people with disabilities to lead fulfilled lives.
He paid tribute to the Government’s move to de-institutionalisation, acknowledging to Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Valentina Simeonova, who was among guests, the foundation’s appreciation for the approach being taken.
The SA Gala Dinner was part of the South African Food Festival at the Hilton, in turn part of 2012 celebrations of the 20th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between South Africa and Bulgaria. In a speech, former president Zhelev paid tribute to the development of these relations after the transition to democracy more than two decades ago.
South African ambassador Sheila Camerer thanked Hilton Sofia general manager Jacques Brune and the Hilton group for making available Hilton Durban chef Jonathan Naidoo to prepare the specialities for the dinner and other meals in the course of the food festival. Camerer also thanked other supporters, including Qatar Airlines for flying Naidoo to Sofia.
Other events that will be part of the anniversary celebrations include a week of South African Culture in May and an exhibition from May 7 to 11 at which Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and his entourage are expected to officiate.