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Child playing in SOS CV Islice
Children in Latvia face neglect as parents struggle to find work and social welfare spending declines. Education is key to securing a route out of poverty, and SOS Children's Villages offers key resources for children, including help with school work. In the past, we have supported a primary school, financing refurbishment and renewal of equipment. … more about our charity work in Latvia

Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Valmiera, Latvia

Sponsored child from Valmiera
Sponsored child from Valmiera

A child sponsorship report from Valmiera in Latvia. Written in 2009.

Dear Child Sponsor,

As the end of the year is quickly approaching, I would like to thank you for yet another great year together! It has been filled with lots of work, with joyful moments and with challenges as well, and I would like to thank you for being with us and supporting us throughout it! Also I would like to take this chance and tell you shortly how life at the village has been this year.

63 children live at Valmiera SOS Village now, and 2 of them have arrived just year. There are 11 SOS families, and 3 of them with both parents – SOS mother and father. 24 children are of pre-school age (2 to 6 years old), but the eldest ones are 2 girls – 15 and 17 years old. All of them for some reason have lost their parents, and the village is a new chance for them to have a home and a loving family.

Once on a radio interview, asked about the life at the village, one of the SOS fathers said that the most important for children is stability. They need to know that their family will always be there for them. Some of them have had bad experience in the past, and they are scared that it might repeat. Yet a new family surrounds them with love and care, and gradually they learn that they deserve to be loved. They are happy to return home after school or nursery where their mom is waiting, and there is a good meal and a warm bed – such very simple things that lots of children in the world are missing.

We are glad that we have SOS dads at the village. Children can experience what a real family is like, and dads can teach them a lot. In spring, for example, our boys and SOS dads were making birdcages. The cages were lovely, and they all happily went to the wood to hang the newly-made cages. There is a plan to find a room in the village next year and equip it with necessary tools, to give even more chances for teaching and learning practical skills.

The philosophy of the village is to keep children busy and give them a chance to learn new things. Every child has born with some natural talents. Maybe they still have to be discovered, but we want to encourage and teach them that everything is possible, if only they make up their mind as what they would like to do and to be, and work hard enough to achieve it. We suggest different activities to let them try new things and help to heal their insecurities.

The project of the year at Valmiera Village has been the construction of Friendship Sports-ground that will be completed next year. It has been given such name because both SOS children and their friends from Valmiera city will be able to play ball there. Moreover, we have been able to undertake such a large project only thanks to our friends and supporters, far and near, especially in Norway! It will be a multifunctional sports ground, and children will be able to play volleyball, street-ball and football there.

Valmiera SOS Village is our musical village. Even the smallest kids (3-5 years old) can learn their first dance steps in a village folk-dance group. It has an own ensemble too, and this year, thanks to our supporters, the village has received a gift of musical instruments – guitars and drums, and has created a boys rock band. “A rock band” maybe is a big name for a group of kids, who just learn to play music, but the boys are very proud and full of enthusiasm, and the director himself teaches children to play!

We all are very excited because for the very first time ever the best singers of the village have had a special chance – to record a CD together with popular Latvian musicians. 8 SOS children will also participate in a charity concert that will take place shortly after Christmas and will sing 2 songs in front of the audience of almost 300 people. They have been training a lot lately and are looking forwards to the day when they will step on the stage together with big artists, and their SOS mothers will be among spectators and listen to the convert.
I am sure that I will be able to come to you with lots of good news again in the New Year!

With warm greetings and wishing you all the best,

Sincerely,

Irena Liepina