Hope for Children runs three Children's Day Centres in three towns and one Family Centre in Riga.
There are far too many children living in poverty in Latvia and far too many who suffer neglect and other forms of abuse. Because of the legacy of alcoholism and other forms of addiction left after the fall of communism and because of the struggle to survive many parents are abandoning their children and their needs in some form or other and are leaving them very much at risk. Even worse, some turn to abusing their children.
Love and Safety
Our day care centres provide help and shelter for such children at risk by giving them a safe, welcoming environment where they can find a second home after school and all the support they need for their emotional and physical development. As well as helping to protect them, and teach them how to protect themselves, we encourage and help them to improve in both studies and behaviour while at the same time giving them space to rest and enjoy life, to see and do things they would never normally be able to do and to make them feel special and loved. We care too about the children’s emotional and spiritual needs, listening to them, sharing their burdens, praying with them and reading bible stories.
Providing Meals and Clothing
Some of the Children who come receive their first meal of the day at hope for children. At least one meal is provided for free in all our centres for any child who comes. For children who have irregular meals, sometimes on their own, sitting down for a big family meal with friends and staff at the day centres can be very therapeutic,
All our kids need help with clothing, especially in winter when temperatures can often fall to - 20 C or below, so we are regularly giving out shoes and boots, smart clothes for school, warm jackets and gloves, and much more.
Schoolwork and homework are often the first things to suffer in a child from a difficult background and learning becomes a very negative experience. Staff make sure the children have all the materials and clothes they need for school and keep in touch with teachers as they daily help the children with their homework.
Celebrations, Recreation and Outings
Our kids are always burdened with problems at home and often lack simple rest and fun. To help them learn to rest in a healthy way and to get to see new, interesting and beautiful places around them the staff at the day centers invest in giving them lots of fun times and outings.
Most of all though our kids love it when they are made to feel very special on their birthday and at Christmas. For the majority of them it will be the only real celebration and gift they will get.