SOS Children's Village Tomilino

Since 1996 SOS Children's Villages has been working in Tomilino, which is a district of Moscow. It was the first location in Russia where our organisation started providing support to the local children.

An increasing number of children are losing parental care

At SOS Children’s Villages we care for each child, supporting them so that they can grow into confident adults (photo: M.Mägi).
Tomilino is located about 25 km from the centre of Moscow and is home to about 30,000 people (2010 census). The population of both Tomilino and Moscow has been growing in recent years. Moscow and its surrounding areas produce around one fifth of the country's gross domestic product. The residents of Tomilino find work in Moscow or are employed in the local enterprises, many of which are involved in scientific research and development. There is also a poultry farm and a textile mill nearby.

The sprawling metropolis of Moscow is home to around 11.5 million people. There are sharp contrasts in the standards of living of its population: on the one hand it is one of the cities with the most billionaires in the world, while on the other hand there has been an increase in the number of people living in poverty.

The cost of living has risen in recent years and many families struggle to meet their children's basic needs. As families struggle to make a living, the ensuing stresses and strains often have negative effects on children's lives. Many children end up dropping out of school because they are forced to contribute to the family income. They often end up working or begging on the streets. These conditions have also led to an increase in the number of children who lose parental care altogether.

A need for family-based care

SOS Children's Villages has worked in close collaboration with the Russian authorities, helping to provide support for children who have lost parental care and who have no-one to turn to. The increasing number of children without parental care has led to the already underfunded orphanages becoming overcrowded. SOS Children's Villages’ model of care, which is based around small family units, is viewed as the perfect alternative – an environment where children's individual needs can be met.

What we do in Tomilino

Children in our care grow up with their brothers and sisters (photo: M.Mägi)

SOS Children's Village Tomilino comprises eleven family houses, where up to 72 children can find a loving home with one of the SOS mothers. SOS mothers are trained to provide a stable and loving home to children who have lost the care of their parents. The children attend the nearby kindergartens and schools, and take part in local cultural activities - this means that they are fully integrated into the local community. The nearby woods allow children to play together in the fresh air.

As the children grow older and are ready to leave their SOS families, they can move into the SOS Youth Programme which has been in operation since autumn 2002. While they undergo training or attend further education, the young people are guided on their path to an independent life as, they learn to shoulder responsibility and make their own decisions.