Sponsor a child in Estonia
Despite achieving rapid economic growth over the last two decades, high unemployment and family instability persists in Estonia. Essential services are patchy, with the availability of healthcare varying dramatically from region to region. SOS Children's Villages supports families in need and provides security for vulnerable children.
Sponsor a child in Estonia and help provide a safe childhood and a promising future.
Poverty and healthcare remain big problems
Estonia achieved independence when the USSR collapsed in 1991, and has since undergone vast political and social change. Although it has experienced significant economic growth, many people continue to live in poverty, and unemployment levels have recently begun to rise. To compound matters, life expectancy remains low and the HIV/AIDS rate is among the highest in the EU, with 10,000 people suffering from the disease.
Dwindling support for children in poverty
Family life in Estonia is often precarious, with poverty affecting 10% of children. Despite government efforts to improve living standards, many deprived families lack the support they need, and help has dwindled over recent years. Some impoverished children are simply taken from their family and placed in children's homes. These institutions are often underfunded and lack qualified staff. Children growing up here do not get the care or support they need, and many are suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives.
Our Work in Estonia
Keila is a small town near the capital, Tallinn. We work to provide families with the support they need to become independent and self-sufficient, enabling them to provide better care to their children.
We provide care for children who cannot live with their own families, offering a loving home as part of an SOS family at our Children's Village. Our children attend nearby schools, and, as they near independence, work with SOS staff to prepare for adult life on our SOS Youth Programme either here in Keila, or in Tallinn.
Pöltsamaa is located in central Estonia, where loss of parental care is common. For many of these children, we provide a new family in our Children's Village, where each child is nurtured by a loving SOS Mother. Pöltsamaa's SOS families live as part of the community, so that our children can grow up with young people from the neighbourhood.
The small town of Narva-Jõesuu is situated in Estonia's north-east, on the Russian border.
We help families cope with the strains of Narva-Jõesuu's hard conditions. Through ongoing support, we are helping families provide a good upbringing for their children.
For those who cannot live with their families, we offer a place at our Children's Village. As part of an SOS family, our children enjoy from the best upbringing. Each child benefits from an care plan carefully tailored to their individual needs, while attending community schools with local children, helping them prepare for adult life in Narva-Jõesuu and beyond.
For more information on the work SOS Children's Villages do in Estonia, see our page on Estonian orphans.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Estonia: Tanel always wants to win
"I am so delighted to talk about Tanel. He is successful in his studies and also in football", says mother Sirje from SOS Children's Village Keila, Estonia.
Tanel, soon to be a 13-year-old, came to the village almost five years ago together with his two-month-old brother who was the youngest child ever taken into the village in Keila.
The brothers came to the village when Tanel had just finished the first grade of school and his mother was put into a nursing home because of her weak health. The only options for Tanel and his little brother were either an orphanage or the SOS Village. "Because of the age difference it was clear that they had no chance to be together in an orphanage," says mother Sirje.
SOS mother says that she is very happy with the boy's attitude and talents. "He has the best grades, maybe sometimes the singing is "four". I do not have to check if he has done his homework - he does it without being reminded. In this respect, he is an independent youngster."
Although he has only the best grades at school, there are some subjects he does not appreciate. "Nature and Estonian language are not among my favourites, but I have good grades because I remember everything from the lessons, so I don't have to learn much at home."
Tanel is an intelligent boy who can say "no" to his friends when he has homework to do, and unlike many modern youngsters, he loves to read.
His mother also praises the boy's habits at home. "He thinks that it's better to organise stuff at once than clean the mess later." The boy's comment is plain and simple: "I hate cleaning!"
SOS Lasteküla Eesti Ühing
Pärnu mnt. 130-3011317 Tallinn
Tel: +372/656 6958
Fax: +372/656 6600