Each year about 400 children are separated from their parents. Usually because parents are struggling with poverty and they are not able to care of their children anymore. This year about 7000 children are in danger of being taken away from their parents.

Ida-Virumaa family strengthening programme is meant for families that have become distressed for various reasons while raising their children – parents who are in crisis cannot evaluate the conditions of their children and are not able to guarantee the safe development fit for their age.

It is essential to intervene as soon as possible in the lives of children living in the risk families. Our experience shows that if we support and help the families at risk, then they can raise their children themselves and the kids do not have to be taken away from the families.

With your donation we can help the children living in the risk families. We can enable these families the social and psychological help, speech therapists and therapists in other areas and if there is a need we also help the families financially by buying the kids the medicine they might need or helping to pay for the kindergarten space. Let’s help a child in need today!

The partner for SOS Children’s Villages family strengthening programme is the city of Narva Social Services and according to the contract SOS Children’s Villages will provide different services to the risk families. The programme was started in 2008 and in 2012 there were 209 children and 77 families that took part in the programme.

Family story

The family whose story we would like to have been under supervision of the Narva Social Department since1998 due to being in a difficult situation. In 1997 the father was killed. Mother stayed alone with three kids. She started drinking in order to forget about her sorrow and as a result lost the job. Then she met her former classmate and they started dating. As a result the fourth child Igor was born in 1999.  It seemed to the mother that the life is starting to show its positive side. Yet after sometime they separated and the father of the child moved to Russia and stopped supporting the family. Again mother got in a difficult situation, no job, and insufficient money resources resulted in alcohol dependency.

In 2000 she met Sergey. He seemed to be a very good person: caring, attentive to the needs of the woman and had very good relations with all the children. By this moment the older children were old enough to try starting independent life. The woman and her new boyfriend started living together. Happiness seemed to settle in their house and 2003 Ivan was born. Yet, again Sergey became very strange, he appeared to be gambling. Debts started appearing and the man began to drink, women joined him. The relations started to become worse, constant conflicts were tearing apart. In 2005 Sergey was murdered. The woman was in desperation. Igor got sick, doctors said it was apathetic eczema and in 2006 he got disability. The woman was in stress again: no work, not sufficient income, unhappiness with own life and worries about the children. She was not strong enough to overcome the difficulties, she started drinking again. Children were very worried about their mother, Igor’s disease was progressing with each day.

On 15 August 2011 the child protection workers from the Narva Social Department, separated the children from their mother and send them to shelter, the mother herself was prescribed to participate in FS project of SOS Children’s villages in Estonia “The power of giving”.

The woman was working with the family advisor; she and the children were receiving psychological counseling. Ivan and Igor started participating in the Children’s club. The woman was taking advantage of the Parents club. The family was supported with clothes and food, medicines and vitamins for the children. Yet mother could not cope with alcoholism. She could not pass by the alcohol departments of the shops. She could drink for several days non-stop. She believed she can manage with this problem and was promising to herself that she will stop. Yet, it was not so easy to fulfill this promise. In May 2012 the child protection workers decided that it is in the best interests of the children to go to  the shelter. Yet the fear to lose the children forever turned out to be stronger than the need to drink.

On May 15, 2012 the woman went to the psychiatrist and received suggestive treatment against alcohol. She got her children back, yet she was told this is for the last time. Because of the nervous situation Igor’s health conditions worsened and he got into hospital. The workers of the project were constantly nearby; they were motivating the woman to stay sober, tried to give her back hope in life. They created very frank and open relations. Igor had Art-therapy classes during which he was drawing pictures, had individual sessions with the psychologist, he received individual rehabilitation plan and all the needed services. The woman started to participate in Parent club again. Ivan received supported with the classes of Estonian and participating in the Children’s club. The family receives constant support with the warm lunches during the weekends.

The children believed in their mother and supported her. She went to study in order to receive new profession and become specialist in providing care for elderly and people with disabilities. She had finished the related courses and is currently actively looking for a job.

Igor and Ivan are studying in one of the schools in Narva. Igor is in 7th form and Vanja in the third. They study rather well. At home they try to do different things together: handicrafts, drawing, photography, cycling. The mother can knit and sew and thanks to this hobby she can have some small income.

She has always been convinced that she is not lucky in her life, yet now she is looking at her life from another angle. She believes that she did have a lot of positive things in her life. She gave life to 5 great children. The older son and daughters are grownups already, they live independent life and they are happy. She has 6 grand-children and soon the seventh will be born.

“It is a great thing that there exists such a project as “Power of giving” in Narva that really provides support and strengthen families by helping such people as I am. This is a real support and help to such people as myself. I started making development plans for my family, establish aims and fulfill them. My children are with me. I am happy to be sober and hope this is forever! I continue participating in the project as I feel that yet need their support and help”, says the woman.