Children in Latvia
Latvia has undergone one of the hardest transitions to a market economy in Europe. The financial crisis struck just as progress began, and the unemployment rate soared. It remains high at almost 10%.
Children in Latvia face neglect and abuse, as well as abandonment and violence on the street. These problems have become cyclical in Latvia, with disadvantaged children going on to commit crimes against the next generation.
Children growing up in Latvia face many hardships, from neglect and abandonment, to violence and exposure to drugs. Organised crime and trafficking is a constant danger for children living on the street. This has become a cyclical problem in Latvian society, with vulnerable children going on to abuse other children, or enter a life of crime.
Our Children's Villages in Latvia
SOS Children’s Villages has worked in Latvia since 1996, when we opened our first Children’s Village in Islice. The changing shape of the economic situation since the collapse of the Soviet Union has meant we have had to adapt our support to the ever-changing needs of the families we support.
Our Village in Islice opened in 1996. The nearby town of Bauska is home to 10,000 people, many of whom face unemployment and the various problems joblessness can lead to. Many families are dependent on support from the state, and cuts to the welfare budget since the economic crisis have hit many families hard. Many families lack the skills to care for their children, and some cases of abuse or neglect are not identified till it is too late. In some extreme cases, children lose their parents due to alcoholism or abuse.
Our Village in the northern city of Valmiera opened in 2007. Valmiera has had an ageing population and decent infrastructure. However, the economic crisis hit the town hard, bringing a rise of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment stands at 10%, and - as in Islice - cuts to welfare spending have impacted an increased number of claimants. Many parents lack the resources to care for their children, and social workers are unable to serve the whole community.
The local authorities have been highly supportive of SOS Children's Villages' work in Valmiera, and donated the land where our Village was built. We aim to provide alternative care to children who would otherwise end up in outdated and old-fashioned institutions. We also offer all manner of support to families in the community, from legal advice and counselling, to psychological support, advice on parenting and help finding employment.
Latvijas SOS-Bernu Ciematu Asociacija
Zemitana laukums 5
Tel: +371/67/378 353
Fax: +371/67/709 620