Estonia

SOS Children in Estonia

If you wish to sponsor a child in Estonia, you can sponsor a child in our SOS Children's Village in Keila. Alternatively to support our other work in Kosovo detailed below you could make a regular donation or sponsor a village:

Sponsor a Village in Estonia

SOS Children in Estonia works in partnership with local community groups to help prevent child abandonment through strengthening the family. There are families from four different local communities involved in the project. Families have been given practical help - paying for electricity, water, heating etc. Children are going to school again and families are being given help with food, clothes and medical care. The outcomes are good: many parents have found jobs and are motivated to develop their family life giving more time to care for their children.

In 2004 SOS Children in Estonia began its Family Strengthening Programme in Keila in the north east of the country with the aim of preventing abandonment. There are three target groups: HIV positive mothers, teenage mothers and deprived single mothers. SOS Children in Estonia works in partnership with the local authorities providing both practical help – food, medicine, clothes and help with school fees – and counselling.

Sven Kreek, national director of SOS Children's Villages Estonia, says that the HIV/AIDS infected mothers involved in the project are relatively young. "The problem is that there are probably more HIV positive persons in our programme than we know - that kind of information is classified and they won't tell us either. From one point of view it's understandable, but if there is a child involved it raises questions - maybe there's something we could do for the child. They all need information how to keep their children safe from the disease. For example, they need to know how to avoid actions that could transmit the disease to their children. We find we are working with two kinds of people: those who pretend that nothing has happened and those who don't see a future for themselves. Unfortunately it affects children as well.” There is also the question of confidentiality. People keep quiet because of the consequences - when someone discovers that they have HIV/AIDS, they lose their job and so have no money, which results in more problems and they are often hostile to outside help. If there are children involved, they suffer the most. To add to the problem, the spread of HIV/AIDS has not stopped.

In the first two years of the project, twelve families gained enough confidence and financial independence so that they don't need any help anymore. As Sven Kreek says: “You can't make up ten years of sufferings in two years. It takes time.”

In 2007, SOS Children in Estonia extended its work on Family Strengthening and started working with six more local authorities helping a further 300 vulnerable children and their families. Kersti Puhm, national family strengthening programme manager said "The main idea is still the same - to support families which are at risk of breaking apart and to prevent the children ending up on the streets and then in orphanages. We have decided to put more focus on counselling, helping to develop the children's and also their parents' skills, than on financial help. We will also provide medical aid.”

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