SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Latvia).

Valmiera, is the largest city and the centre of the historical Vidzeme region in northern Latvia. It is home to less than 25,000 inhabitants and located about 100 km from the capital city of Riga. Around 32% of the population in Vidzeme are at risk of poverty. Children growing up in these families need extra support. As a result of the lack of economic opportunities, many young people move away in search of employment.

Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Valmiera.

1 in 10
Children live in jobless households

Children living in poverty

The unemployment rate in Latvia is around 7%, affecting over 50,000 people in the country’s labour force with almost 50% of unemployed persons being at risk of poverty. Almost a tenth of children live in a household where parents do not have a job. And more than 70% of them are at risk of poverty. Experiencing parental unemployment as a child can have long-term effects of social disadvantage, such as health, well-being, education, and an increased likelihood of multigenerational poverty.

1 in 2
Adults are accepting of corporal punishment

Children at risk of violence

Despite being prohibited, corporal punishment is still widespread in Latvia, and often still practiced in schools. Around 55% of adults think that “lighter” physical punishment of children in acceptable, while 23% think that beating children with a belt or another object is reasonable. The impacts of violence on children can be profound, leaving them with a range of both physical and emotional harm with significant consequences on their future.

Your support makes a difference for children in Valmiera

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children, young people and adults
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Learning how to play the piano. Children in our care go to kindergarten and school. And then they have a chance to have some musical fun too (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Latvia).

How your support helps in Valmiera

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Many children are cared for in foster families. Some children live in different parts of the city, alongside local families. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.