SOS mothers provide children with the care and support they need (photo: M. Mägi).
The city of Temirtau is situated about 180 kilometres south-east of Astana, the country's capital. The nearest larger city is Karaganda, which is the capital of the Karaganda region. Temirtau is an industrial city with approximately 180,000 inhabitants. The region has undergone economic and social development in recent years, including the modernisation of its industrial base.
However, in spite of these improvements the area's social and economic situation is of great concern. The rate of unemployment is very high and many families live in poverty. As a result of the changing conditions, children often lose parental care and end up being placed into state-run institutions.
The area also has a high number of AIDS and drug-related deaths. Many of those suffering from drug addictions have been in prison or face housing problems. They often risk developing tuberculosis. Children from these families are vulnerable - in most cases they do not attend kindergarten or school and are socially isolated.
The conditions in Temirtau make the work of SOS Children's Villages particularly important. The local municipality has been very supportive of the work that our organisation does in the area and donated the plot of land on which the SOS family homes are built.
SOS Children's Villages works very closely with the local community. The children from the SOS families are actively integrated into the local community - they attend the city school and take part in activities such as regional concerts or sports competitions.
Children in our care grow up with their brothers and sisters in a loving SOS home (photo: M. Mägi).
Children who have lost parental care can find a loving home in one of the twelve SOS families, where up to 108 children can be cared for. The children have a lot to do with the neighbouring children as we organise many activities in the area.
When children are ready to leave their families they move to the SOS Youth Programme. The young people can live in special houses during their vocational training or further education and prepare for an independent life under the guidance of professionals.