Family strengthening is an important part of SOS Children’s Villages work in Russia. A partnership with IKEA helps to support even more families to avoid breakdown and prevent children from losing parental care.
SOS Children’s Villages started working in Russia in the late 1980s and began to operate family strengthening programmes in 2006, working directly with families to enable children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow up within a loving family environment. In 2015, IKEA became a key corporate partner for all family strengthening programmes in SOS Children’s Villages Russia.
“We were looking for a partner with a holistic view on improving the lives of the many children in Russia”, says Eva Stal, Sustainability Manager of IKEA Retail Russia. “SOS Children’s Villages is a respected organisation with more than 20 years of experience in providing homes for children in different ways in Russia. IKEA and SOS Children’s Villages share the same view in working for the best interest of the child.”
SOS Children’s Villages Russia provides care and support for more than 1,300 children in six regions through various programmes. Through family strengthening, vulnerable families receive different types of support so that they can grow stronger and stay together, and IKEA has become an important partner.
“We believe that the best upbringing for a child is together with his/her family – to grow up in a caring and safe environment,” says Eva Stal.
Nikolay Slabzhanin, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Russia, sees the partnership as a unique opportunity. “Thanks to IKEA Russia many children will remain in their biological families. This company really understands the importance of preventing a problem and they want to help as many families and children as they can.”
IKEA does not only provide financial support to SOS Children’s Villages. It also brings the importance of supporting children and their families to their customers’ attention: The family strengthening programme has become part of the IKEA FAMILY club – whenever an IKEA FAMILY club member swipes their membership card at an IKEA store, IKEA makes a donation to SOS Children’s Villages. In addition, IKEA FAMILY club members have been invited to make individual donations to SOS Children’s Villages.
For both SOS Children’s Villages and IKEA, caring for children is a long-term commitment: “Together with SOS Children’s Villages we hope that the families in the programme will get the support they need for the children to grow up and get a good start in life to be able to create their own future”, says Eva Stal.