Narva-Jõesuu is a small town in the north-east of the Estonia, close to the border with Russia. In the summer months, many tourists flock to the town to enjoy the coast.
Since 2008 SOS Children's Villages has been working in Narva-Jõesuu. At first we provided help to vulnerable families through a family strengthening scheme. Since 2012 we have also been supporting orphaned children by providing them with SOS families.
Poverty and unemployment
Despite the town having previously lived off tourism and industry, many suffer from unemployment, and the poverty rates are high. After Estonia departed from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, these two sources of economic prosperity collapsed.
Despite the tourism industry gradually regaining its former success, the visitor numbers are still not as high as they were before Estonia declared independence. The poor socio-economic situation has led to a decrease in the local population, as many people have gone abroad in search of a brighter future.
Children at risk
HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasing issue, with 10,000 people in Estonia currently suffering from the disease. In 2010, approximately half of all the cases of HIV/AIDS that were diagnosed were in the Narva-Jõesuu area. The greatest proportion of these diagnoses are injecting drug users, which is a result of the area being the drug transit point between Russia and the rest of Europe. A large number of the children who we support in the Narva-Jõesuu region come from families who use these substances.
Additionally, the rapid increase in price of daily commodities has had negative impacts on the children of this region. Families with only one parent or with health issues often struggle to provide for their children’s emotional and physical needs.
What we do in Narva-Jõesuu
Recently, Estonia has been improving the care that is provided to children who are unable to live with their biological families. Most children in care live in large institutions, but fortunately the number of children who are being looked after in family-settings is on the rise.
Helping families to stay together
Since 2008, SOS Children's Villages has been running a family strengthening scheme. We support families in Narva-Jõesuu through our family strengthening scheme in order that they can give their children a safe, caring place to live in. Local organisations work closely with us so that children can get access to necessities including food and education. Local families are also given assistance with parenting skills and gaining income.
A new family for children without
The local authorities contacted us in 2011 with a rare opportunity to give children living in poverty the chance to live in a family. SOS Children's Villages was given houses built by the Estonian authorities, which were then to be used by SOS families.
SOS families provide loving homes for children whose biological families are unable to look after them. Development plans are created which are unique for each child, and they are updated as the needs of the child change.
In Narva-Jõesuu, there are six homes, one of which is tailored to accommodate children with disabilities. Up to 36 children can live in the Village, and they attend local schools alongside local children, which means that they can become part of the wider community. The city of Narva is approximately 10 kilometres away from Narva-Jõesuu, where even more medical and educational facilities can be found.
Will you sponsor a child in Narva-Jõesuu and give them hope for a better future?