Danville Woman Delivers Gifts
To Bulgarian Gypsy Street Children

Alamo / Blackhack / COMMUNITY / Danville / Diablo

February 2003 Issue

When Tammy Burton of Danville traveled to Bulgaria in January, she was not just an ordinary tourist. As the granddaughter of computer pioneer John Atanasoff, she was given VIP treatment, with appearances on TV and almost daily newspaper coverage. She says that she was overwhelmed by all the attention, especially since her agenda was not to receive recognition, but to distribute Christmas gifts to the Gypsy street children in the town of Stara Zagora.

The gifts were collected by The Macedonian Outreach, a Danville based Christian charity, to be distributed to the extremely poor children of Samariani School. At the Christmas party, each child was allowed to choose three gifts, which included coats, shoes, sweat suits, backpacks and toys. Tammy noticed the need for clothing was so great, few Gypsy children chose a toy. Samariani School is actually a private charitable after-school program, which helps the kids with their homework, and serves to persuade them to stay off the streets and in school.

Tammy Burton with Samariani School children

Tammy then traveled to a small village outside Stara Zagora, to attend a Sunday School party with about fifty children. All the kids were dressed in clothing which had previously been provided by Macedonian Outreach donations. They were delighted to be entertained by a professional puppet show, and each child received fruit and candy as a small gift. The Macedonian Outreach also pays for breakfast and a school lunch ticket for each one, and Tammy was deeply impressed by the impact it has on the lives of these destitute children.

Next October the entire Burton family hopes to attend the Centenary Celebration in Sofia, the 100th birthday of John Astanasoff, the father of the computer, which will be celebrated with great fanfare. (A dream of Bulgarian scientists: Perhaps Bill Gates can be persuaded to attend.)