Sponsor a child in Eastern Europe
In Eastern Europe we currently care for over 2,000 sponsored children in 38 SOS Children's Villages.
About 30,000 people are supported through education projects, such as SOS Schools, and community based projects, such as Family Strengthening Programmes and the SOS Playbus schemes.
Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. At present, SOS Children support over 850 people in Albania through one SOS Children's Village, one SOS Youth Home, one SOS Nursery School, one SOS School and two SOS Family Strengthening Programmes.
We have been working in Belarus since 1986. The Chernobyl disaster made a safe home for orphaned children a necessity. Now there are three SOS Children's Villages in the country.
Whilst having recovered well, Bosnia & Herzegovina still suffers from the conflict that afflicted the country in the 1990s. We have rebuilt two nurseries in Mostar that were destroyed during the war. We also have two SOS Children's Villages in the country.
We started work in Bulgaria in the town of Trjavna, in 1995. Since then, a second SOS Children's Village was opened in Dren, about 28 miles south of the capital Sofia.
At present there are two SOS Children's Villages in Croatia, two SOS Youth Homes and one SOS Nursery. One Village is located near to the capital Zagreb, in Lekenik, the other is in the east of the country in Ladimirevci.
SOS Children began discussions with representatives of North Cyprus in 1989. There was no clear policy on child care and the SOS Children method has provided a model for the reform of child care. The only SOS Children’s projects on the island are in the capital, Nicosia, known locally as Lefkosa to the Turks and Lefkosia to the Greeks. Nicosia is the only divided capital city in the world.
We currently have three SOS Children's Villages in Czech Republic. These are located in Doubi, Chvalčov and Medlánky.
Our work in Estonia currently features one SOS Children's Village in Keila, near Tallinn, one SOS Youth Home, one SOS Nursery and three SOS Social Centres.
Greece is home to three SOS Children's Villages, in Plagiari, Vari and Thrace. We also operate eight Social Centres accross the country.
There are currently three SOS Children's Villages in Hungary, in Koszeg, Kecskemét and Battonya. We have been working in the country since 1986.
Latvia, on the Baltic Sea, is home to two SOS Children's Villages, in Valmeira and Islice. The country has recovered well since Communism collapsed.
We have one SOS Children's Village in Lithuania in the capital Vilnius. This village was opened to new children in 2001.
One SOS Children's Village has been operating in Macedonia since we started working there in 2000. It is in the capital, Skopje.
Despite gradually rising living standards, deprivation is widespread in Poland's east. Support for struggling families is limited, and children from tough backgrounds are often taken away from their parents and placed in institutions. We care for children in four locations, and help vulnerable families provide a better start for their children.
There are three SOS Children's Villages in Romania. One is in the small town of Cisnadie, near Sibiu, one in Hemeius, and one in the capital Bucharest. On top of this, we run several programmes for the wider community, such as an SOS Playbus in Bucharest.
In Russia there are currently six SOS Children's Villages. All six Villages have the advantage of good infrastructure and the children attend local public nurseries and schools.
There is one SOS Children's Village and one SOS Youth Home in Serbia, located in Kraljevo.
In 2010, the first SOS Children's Village in Ukraine opened in Brovary, near to the capital city Kiev. We first worked in the country in 2003, providing emergency relief to families in the Podol district.
As you can see in the map on the right, there are many SOS Children's Villages in Western Europe, for example, in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy.
Western European countries pay for their own SOS Children's Villages (generally with government funding and private charitable donations too) and we do not generally seek sponsorships here.
In other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Iceland, we do not run SOS Children's Villages, but we do work to raise money for our programmes in other parts of the world.
The Story of SOS Child Sponsorship in Europe
The first SOS Children's Village was opened in the Austrian State of Tyrol. This innovative model was a solution to the poor standards of living of children orphaned after the Second World War.
One of the greatest challenges in Europe was presented by the events and developments in the former Yugoslavia. SOS Children was one of the few aid organisations that was active in the country during the Yugoslav war. We are now present in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in Kosovo. SOS facilities also exist in Serbia and Croatia.
Construction of an SOS Children's Village in Czech Republic marked the beginning in 1970. A village was opened in Hungary in 1986. After the East opened up, SOS Villages were built in Bulgaria (1993), Romania (1993) and Albania (1995). Particular mention should be given to the Belarusian SOS Children's Village in Minsk, which was built in 1995 in reaction to the Chernobyl disaster.