SOS Children's Village Medlanky is the third village we set up in the Czech Republic. In 1974 the Soviet regime took over the Villages we ran in Czechoslovakia, but we returned in 1989 when the country left the Soviet Union.
With political and social change in the country we have new challenges that we are working to address at local and national levels.
Changing labour market
Medlanky is near Brno in southern Moravia. Traditionally the city is in a strategic location, being less than 200 km from the capital cities of Prague, Vienna and Bratislava.
Brno is an administrative capital of the Czech Republic, and is home to the country's judiciary and a number of other state organisations. Traditionally the city's economy relied on manufacturing but in recent years it has become a service and technology hub for the country.
Though the local economy is booming, the benefits of growth haven't reached all sectors of society. Women, people with disabilities and the Roma population all find it hard to get work.
Child protection in the Czech Republic
SOS Children have been working closely with the Czech government to change the way it looks after children who can no longer live with their parents. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recently criticised the country for the large numbers of institutionalised children. These children often have physical or mental impairments, are of Roma ethnicity, or come from disadvantaged parents who might be single or have a poor educational background.
In working with the Czech government we are showing them how children benefit from growing up under our model of care. The SOS family approach involves putting children in a loving, family environment and engaging with their community. Children who grow up under our care are supported in such a way that they learn how to live independently as adults. This is a better approach to child care than putting them into state orphanages.
What we do in Medlanky
We started work in 2003, setting up a Children's Village in the town. Children who can no longer live with their parents can find a loving home in one of the SOS families in the Village. We offer a family environment where children grow up with their SOS brothers and sisters, cared for by an SOS Mother.
We have an educational and psychological counselling service, and ensure that the children we care for play as full a role in the community as they would living with their parents. Children attend school in the Medlanky community, making friends and networks which will help them flourish as they grow up.
Young adults need a more hands-off approach and we offer them supported, shared accommodation through our youth programme in Brno. Young people stay with us while attending further education or vocational training. We have qualified youth counsellors who give them guidance in making the important decisions young adults face as they take steps toward full independence.
From nursery through to adulthood, we care for young people in Madlanky as they grow up. Will you help a vulnerable child to flourish and sponsor a child today?