Keila is a small town of 10,000 people in the north west of Estonia, near the capital Tallinn. SOS Children's Villages has been working in Keila since 1994.
For over a decade we have been supporting vulnerable families and looking after children who have lost parental care, or are at risk of losing it.
Increasing cost of living affects many families
Despite making progress in recent years, Estonia continues to struggle with many social issues that have a particularly negative impact on vulnerable families. There is a huge gap between the wealthy and less well off in Estonia, with the top 20% of the population earning five times as much as the bottom 20%.
The recent global economic crisis resulted in the price of food and other basic commodities rising steeply in Estonia. The hardest hit were those already living in precarious situations. Children have often borne the brunt – child malnourishment has become increasingly common and many children do not attend school because their parents cannot afford school uniforms and learning materials.
Families struggle to make ends meet
The weather plays a part in discomfort too - with very cold, snowy winters in the country, the least wealthy cannot afford to clothe their children properly. These families are often socially isolated and find it hard to make ends meet.
There is a welfare state in Estonia, but it has limited capacity. There is therefore a real need for programmes like SOS Children's family strengthening programmes which aim to support families to financial self-sufficiency.
SOS Children's Villages works to benefit the community
We work closely with local authorities, ensuring children get their basic needs – be it psychological or educational – supported. We help communities better understand the needs and rights of their children so that they are better placed to protect and care for them.
Good parental care gives a child the best chance in life. We provide much-needed support to families on the verge of collapsing. Many of these families experience domestic violence or other forms of abuse and we provide the necessary counselling and support.
SOS Children's Village, Keila
Where chiildren are no longer able to live with their parents or caregivers, we offer them a loving home an SOS family at our Children's Village.
The Children's Village is situated about 3km from the town centre, in a residential area with easy access to schools, shops and a hospital. For each child we draw up a tailor made 'child development plan' in consultation with each child, which is reviewed periodically to meet the needs of the individual as they grow up. Children attend schools in the community, and play as much a role in the life of Keila as they would living with their parents.
As children grow up they are offered a place in our SOS youth programme in nearby Tallinn. They live in shared, supported accommodation while attending further education or vocational training. Advised by trained youth counsellors they can then go into the world independently and assured of having made the right decisions critical to early adulthood.
Caring for refugees
As the refugee crisis engulfs Europe, we are providing care, accomodation and legal support to unaccomapnied refugee and migrant children and young people like Samuel, who found himself alone in Estonia when he was just 16.
We provide hope for vulnerable families and lone children in Tallinn. Sponsor a child and ensure they have all they need to have a bright future.