We talked to SOS Children's Village Croatia about the challenges during the corona pandemic and about ways of supporting so that no child has to grow up alone.
Which new challenges at your work do you have due to the pandemic?
Ever since the Corona pandemic started, there has been many changes in the lives and activites of all of us in SOS Children's Villages Croatia. Unfortunately, we had to close the doors of our SOS Children's Villages for outside visitors, but we have done our best to maintain contact to our partners. We have turned towards virtual / online meetings, and our web-pages and social media profiles have helped us to share our stories and photos from the Villages so that our donors and partners could see how we spend our days. In spite of all these unfortunate circumstances we try to keep a cheerful spirit and motivation for work at the highest level. We believe that so far we have succeeded in that.
Which problems due to the pandemic do you see at children and families you work with?
As in any other family, we have organized the life in SOS families in accordance with Covid-19 protective measures. During spring, our children had online school which was quite challenging for every SOS household. In some SOS houses, SOS mothers and SOS aunts had to take over a teacher role from time to time, but our pedagogical experts – pedagogues and social workers – were also very helpful. In the beginning, the children found it quite unusual that they could not leave the Village, but as there were many of them in our houses, there was always some company to help get over this peculiar situations. The warm days of summer brought along a bit more leniency so all our children and youth managed to travel to the coast for at least one week. But, when they came back to school, they had to adapt to wearing face masks. The fall brought along new, harsher measures, but they still get to go to school and we hope it will remain so.
How do you solve respectively help them?
Our Association functions like one big family. This means that we are always there for each other, helping one another, all for the benefit of children and youth growing up in our care. This time, just like they always do, our friends and donors provided their support, both with financial donations, but also with specific donations such as disinfectants and face masks.
Which things should be run better than currently, maybe anything decided by the government?
SOS Children’s Villages Croatia has always maintained excellent cooperation with the relevant Ministries who have been supporting our work, so even during these difficult times we manage to work in accord with them. We adhere to all measures prescribed by relevant institutions and the Government, and we strive to live the highest possible quality of life in line with existing measures as any other responsible citizen and professional.
How many children do currently live in your SOS-Villages in Croatia, which age and background? Could you tell a little bit about the children and families you work with?
We currently provide care for 240 children and youth in two SOS Children’s Villages and four SOS Youth Facilities. We care for children of all ages – our youngest baby is 9 months old and lives in SOS CV Lekenik and we care for our youth until they finish school or university and become fully independent, maximally until they are 24 years old. Each child has their own story and are taken out of their biological families for different, but always justified reasons. Following the decision of the relevant Social Welfare Center they are placed into one of our Villages where we provide them with long-term, family type of care. Exactly that is what makes us so different from other alternative care providers. They are growing up in the warmth of SOS family, with the love and support SOS mother, together with their own biological siblings, but also with SOS sisters and brothers. We create families for children without appropriate parental care.
How can one help and support the SOS children villages in Croatia?
SOS Children’s Villages Croatia is a partner you can count on. For a number of years we cherish partnerships with our corporate donors but also with individuals who support us as regular, committed givers. Everyone who has a good hart and some possibility to help us can do it via our web page.
Thank you in advance for helping our children because no child should grow up alone!