Valmiera in is the largest city in the region, with a population estimate of 30,000. It is located in the centre of Vidzeme region, north Latvia.
Latvia earned its independence in 1991 but has been struggling with issues like poverty and corruption. Our Children's Village in the area opened in 2007.
A lack of opportunities for young people
Despite recent investment in the town to improve infrastructure and attract new business, Valmiera is a tough place to grow up. The town has the highest percentage of young adults in Latvia, yet the opportunites available to them are lacking. As a result, many of them move away from Valmiera to work elsewhere.
When the global economic crisis happened in 2000, the country’s economy was severely challenged. The unemployment rate increased and finding a stable job became much more difficult. The lack of jobs coupled with low incomes has affected families across Latvia.
Valmiera’s official rate of unemployment is 10% and social welfare is often the only source of funds or assistance locals can turn to, however state corruption is a real problem. Unemployment can lead to a number of other problems such as alcoholism, crime, and abuse – all of which are unfortunately common in Valmiera. Many parents abandon their children or leave them unattended.
SOS Children’s Village Valmiera
Care in SOS families
SOS Children started working in 2007 in Valmiera - our second site in Latvia.
When a child is orphaned or abandoned, we offer them a new family home in one of the twelve family houses in our Children's Village. Here they are cared for by an SOS Mother who ensures that all important needs are taken care of. They attend local schools, and are supported until they are independent young people. Some of our SOS families in Valmiera live in houses in the community – making sure that the children we care for are fully integrated into their neighbourhoods is very important to us.
We also run community outreach work in the region to help local families. Services include nutrition, psychological support, job skills training and parenting skills and making sure that children have access to educational, health and nutritional services.
From nursery to adulthood, we support children every step of the way in our Children's Village in Valmiera. Sponsor one of these children today and help them thrive.