Our Children’s Village in Moscow is around 16 miles east of the centre, in the suburban town of Tomilino. The town has growing population of around 30,000 people. Although Tomilino’s local industries have benefited from growth in recent years, the gap between rich and poor still remains a problem.
Around one fifth of Russia’s gross domestic product is produced in the Moscow region. Within this region, residents either commute to the capital city, or work closer to home in local enterprises. The largest enterprises in Tomilino specialise in scientific research and aerospace manufacturing. There is also a textile mill and a poultry farm nearby.
Children face a high risk of losing parental care
There is a sharp contrast in living standards within the region of Moscow. The city itself is home to the largest number of billionaires in the world. By contrast, the level of poverty in the surrounding areas is still rising.
Although Moscow has benefited from economic growth in recent years, the cost of living has risen as a consequence. As a result, many families are finding daily life difficult. As parents contend with financial difficulties, the stresses and strains can affect their children.
The financial hardship forces many children to drop out of school and contribute to their family’s income. If they’re unable to find work, they often end up begging on the streets. These conditions have led to an increase in the number of children losing parental care altogether.
How we help in Tomilino
Helping through family care
Since our arrival in Tomilino we have been working closely with the Russian authorities to provide better support to children who have lost parental care.
When we first arrived in the region, we saw how state orphanages were struggling to cope. With more children living without parental care, these already underfunded homes have become overcrowded. Insufficient educational facilities are also having a negative effect. Many children are unable to develop their reading and writing skills.
We provide care in small family units; a more intimate alternative to large state orphanages. By providing an environment where the individual needs of a child can be met, we ensure they grow up with the best possible start in life.
Our SOS Children's Village
First established in 1996, Tomilino was the first location in Russia where we began providing help to children. Our SOS Children's Village sits on a 12 acre plot of land in a densely wooded area of the town, where children have lots of room to play and take part in various outdoor activities.
When a child arrives at the Village they are introduced to their new SOS mother. While showing them around, she helps them get to know other children from around the village. Once they have got used to their surroundings, the new arrival is then invited to see their new home. Here they live with other children from their SOS family under the love and care of their SOS mother. The children can also attend nearby nurseries and schools, and join in with local sports days and musical events. This all helps them further their integration back into the community.
Children are placed carefully into their SOS families. We ensure that siblings always stay together, and we give children the opportunity to mix with others of a similar age.
As time goes on, the older children in our Village feel ready to move on. At this time in their life they can rely on their SOS mother to help guide them through their options for further education or training. With their help, the child can access our SOS youth programme and begin the journey to an independent life.
Many families in the Moscow region are struggling with the rising cost of living. With an increasing number of children growing up in hardship, we provide care and support to the most vulnerable.