SOS Children’s Villages works with some of the most vulnerable children and young people and offers support to families both in Finland and around the world. The organisation’s mission is to ensure that all children have the ability to spend an ordinary childhood living in a safe environment surrounded by their families. The purpose of support family activities is to offer families the help they need as early on as possible.
“The need for a support family may arise from challenges related to how parents cope, the lack of social networks or a difficult situation in life. In this case, a person or a couple with a stable situation in life can become a child’s support family. This means that the child visits the support family one weekend a month or as agreed upon,” says Johanna Virtanen, Project Coordinator at SOS Children’s Villages.
Corporate partnerships are also significant as thousands of children in Finland are currently queueing for a support family.
“With Paulig’s support, we have been able to expedite and expand our support family activities and organise encounters providing participants with experiences around an important topic. For instance, on Mother’s Day, support families from nearby regions had the chance to enjoy a spring brunch at Paulig Kulma and get to know the world of coffee with Paulig’s barista. Today, 20 November, marks World Children's Day, and we’re organising an information evening at Paulig Kulma where, together with influencers, we talk about support family opportunities. We hope that many new families will join the support family activities,” says Virtanen.
The support family activities of SOS Children’s Villages have also been discussed at Paulig.
“Supporting children and young people really matters to us at Paulig, and the collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages is an integral part of our sustainability work. The first year of the collaboration has gone extremely well and we are proud to be involved in building wellbeing for future generations together with our Paulig staff,” says Rolf Ladau, President and CEO of Paulig Group.
Exercise book helps express wishes and hopes
World Children’s Day celebrates the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted exactly 30 years ago. The idea behind the day is to raise awareness of topics related to the wellbeing of children.
For Johanna Virtanen of SOS Children’s Villages, the day is an annual opportunity to review and assess how the rights of children are realised in all operations.
“At SOS Children’s Villages, we highlight children’s participation in all of our operations. Together with children who visit support families, we have created an exercise book. The goal of the book is to explain to the child coming to a support family about the service and offer them a way of expressing their hopes and wishes to the support family. As adults, our role is to help children make their world visible. I’m proud that we have invested in this right at SOS Children’s Villages,” says Virtanen.
Photos: SOS Children’s Villages