Our people

History of SOS Children´s Village in Estonia

Every child needs love and attention, to be cared for and noticed, or in other words, quality time that is dedicated solely to them. All this requires continuity, a great deal of willpower and a lot of TIME from many people – time you can truly BE THERE for each child. 


Our people

The history of the Estonian SOS Children's Village

The principles of SOS Children's Villages were first outlined in Estonia by Tom Mikael Malvet, who arrived in the country in 1992 as a representative of the International Organisation of SOS Children's Villages. He started out as the head of the Baltic representation of SOS Kinderdorf Internatsional and prepared for the establishment of the first children's village and recognition of the activities of the SOS Children's Village by the Government of the Republic of Estonia. The SOS Estonian Children's Village began operating in 1994 when the government and SOS Kinderdorf International signed a contract on 25 July that year regarding the establishment and running of SOS Children's Villages and related projects. Their cooperation agreement was ratified by the Riigikogu (the Estonian parliament) on 9 November 1994 and President Lennart Meri signed it into law a month later, on 10 December 1994.

The non-profit organisation the SOS Children's Village Estonian Society received its registration certificate on 27 October 1994. Gunnar Okk, Peeter Lepik, Ülle Alt and Mikk Mikiver were elected as the first members of its management board.

The first SOS Children's Village in Estonia was opened in Keila on 16 June 1995. By 1 September that year there were 51 children living in the 10 family houses in the Keila children's village.

The Estonian Society of the SOS Children's Village is a non-governmental, non-political, non-confessional and (in legal form) non-profit organisation whose work is mainly based on the public interest, which aims to provide social and economic assistance to children and families in various ways.

Our history

1992 The Estonian government and SOS Kinderdorf International enter into a contract for the construction of a children's village in Estonia

1994 December: The first family moves into Keila's Children's Village

1995 April: 37 children are living in the village. On 1 September, a small, child-friendly kindergarten and primary school named after Hermann Gmeiner is opened at the Keila SOS Children's Village

1999 October: The first SOS Youth Home is opened in Keila and the first five youngsters move in

2002 October: An SOS Youth Home is opened in Tallinn. A total of 69 children are living in the SOS Children's Village.

2004 Keila SOS Youth Home moves into a new and more spacious building. 76 children are living in the children's village and 16 young people in youth homes. Six young people have become independent and are living their own lives.

2008 The Family Strengthening Project is launched in Narva

2010 June: The first family moves into Põltsamaa Children's Village. Põltsamaa has the first children's village where married couples are employed as caring parents.

2012 October: Narva-Jõesuu Children's Village is opened, where only children with significant mental and physical disabilities live together under one roof

2015 January: Juuru SOS Children's Village starts operating on New Year’s Day

2015 The Centre for Unaccompanied Minors opens in Keila

2016 The Family Strengthening Project is launched in Harju County

2017 The Family Strengthening Projects in Sillamäe, Paldiski and Kohtla-Järve are launched

2018 March: Kohtla-Järve Children's Village opens

2018 The Family Strengthening Project starts in Põltsamaa municipality

2019 May: The Family Strengthening Project begins in Viljandi municipality