It is important for children to grow up in a safe and loving family, preferably their biological one. Nevertheless, in Lithuania there are more than 4100 children living in the country’s 108 child care institutions. Reasons for removing children from their families include abuse and neglect. Traditionally the institutions have distrusted and disliked biological parents whose children have been taken from them. The Family Support Programme – implemented by the NGO Atsigrezk i Vaikus and supported by Childhood– has established a better contact between the institution and families, supporting the important role that parents play in their children’s lives. The programme has also facilitated more contact between children and their parents. In 2011, 4 children returned to their biological families, all of which had participated in the Family Support Programme.
Children and their parents during a workshop where they made art by outlining their hands. The programme offers recreational and therapeutical activities for families, as well as positive parenting training and social support.
Childhood is supporting the Lithuanian organisation Atsigrezk i Vaikus. During our latest visit we discussed the Work Skills Training programme, previously funded by Childhood. We met two young women – both orphanage graduates – who are participating in the programme and are training to become a waitress and a maid. Radisson Hotel in Vilnius has committed to employing at least 3 of the orphanage graduates. When asked if they felt that the atmosphere among the students was competitive, one of the women answered: “No, it does not feel competitive at all.” Then she added with a smile: “I know I am the best and that I will get a job at Radisson”.
The photo is from a hotel in Vilnius, however it is not the Radisson.