Valmiera, is the largest city and the centre of the historical Vidzeme region in northern Latvia. It is home to less than 25,000 inhabitants and located about 100 km from the capital city of Riga.
Around 32% of the population in Vidzeme are at risk of poverty. Children growing up in these families need extra support. As a result of the lack of economic opportunities, many young people move away in search of employment.
Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Valmiera.
The unemployment rate in Latvia is around 7%, affecting over 50,000 people in the country’s labour force with almost 50% of unemployed persons being at risk of poverty.
Almost a tenth of children live in a household where parents do not have a job. And more than 70% of them are at risk of poverty.
Experiencing parental unemployment as a child can have long-term effects of social disadvantage, such as health, well-being, education, and an increased likelihood of multigenerational poverty.
Despite being prohibited, corporal punishment is still widespread in Latvia, and often still practiced in schools.
Around 55% of adults think that “lighter” physical punishment of children in acceptable, while 23% think that beating children with a belt or another object is reasonable.
The impacts of violence on children can be profound, leaving them with a range of both physical and emotional harm with significant consequences on their future.