Heinz Valk, Ambassador to the SOS Children's Village: "The children are safe in the knowledge that they are not alone in the world and have people who care for them, like every other child they encounter at school or in the playground."
At the SOS Children's Village, children without parents are brought up in loving and caring homes. The heart of every family is the SOS mother and/or father, who has up to six children of various ages under their care. The mother and/or father is present day and night, in good times and bad, ensuring that the children feel secure and get plenty of attention. The siblings live together in families, and each family is assisted by a social worker and other specialists if needed so that they get all kinds of help in raising the children. The children go to school, have hobbies and live completely normal everyday lives. The principle of the SOS Children's Village is that every child needs parents by their side at all times who will support and direct them and always be there for them. With the support of a reliable parent, a child prepares for life as an adult according to their abilities. Reliable relationships and love experienced once again give the child the opportunity to recover from past experiences, which have often been traumatic.
At the SOS Children's Village the children live in two different types of homes: those of the SOS parents private homes and those of the village itself. What is the difference between the homes?
Living in SOS parents private homes means that the SOS mother and/or father have taken kid(s) without parental care in to grow up in their own home, which can be located anywhere in Estonia. If necessary, the village helps to improve the living conditions of the families by doing repairs and simpler renovations. SOS children go to the same kindergartens or schools as the family's biological children and live completely normal family lives. The advantage of bringing up children in the parents' own home is that they enjoy privacy, independence and the freedom to make their own decisions. If necessary, the family is assisted by the SOS support network, providing help in solving problems as well as in training the parents. A parent who raises children in their own home is a full member of the SOS Children's Village organisation and can participate in training sessions and joint events like all of the other parents who live in the village.
Being a SOS parent at the SOS Children's Village means that families live together in one area as a community. There are four areas in the village where several families live in one place: Harju County, Southern Estonia, Narva-Jõesuu and Rapla County.
The families all live in their own houses, but close together. Being a parent at the SOS Children's Village means that the mother and/or father have moved to the children's village and spend most of their time with the village's children. On free days, they can go to their own homes and live there. Some families living in children's villages have rented out their own homes and live in the village all year round. The advantage of raising children at the SOS Children's Village is that other parents in the same situation live in the immediate vicinity and can give advice and offer help whenever needed. Children from different families can play and grow up together, and community support is felt at every step.