SOS Children's Villages started working with children, young people and families in Poland in 1983. Since then the work of SOS Children's Villages has continued and it is now present in six locations in Poland. Through the decades, SOS Children's Villages has provided different support depending on the local needs of the community. For example, transit homes for short term placements were required and so SOS Children's Villages started two in the cities of Bilgoraj and Ustron.
Eastern Poland has not seen as much economic growth as other areas of the country
Playing football at the SOS Children's Village (photo: SOS CV Krasnik archives).
Krasnik is a town with about 37,000 inhabitants located in the east of Poland, about 50 kilometres south of Lublin.
Agriculture is important in the area, as is the local industry which produces ball bearings and bricks. The local government is working to attract more industry to the town; it is investing in the road structure and developing areas for future investors. The region is also home to historic towns and nature reserves, which attracts some tourism to the area.
Although the Polish economy has improved over the last decades, not all areas have benefited from this progress: the eastern parts of Poland have not profited as much as other parts of the country. The salaries are lower than in other areas of Poland and the region continues to have one of the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in the country. This is particularly true of rural areas and small towns.
Many children in the region continue to live in poverty. They often find it difficult, especially in more rural areas, to access education and adequate health care. Many children lose parental care due to a complex set of circumstances which often include unemployment, addiction and a lack of social welfare support.
An increasing number of children losing parental care
The Polish government's official policy is that vulnerable families should be supported so that children can continue to live with their families. However, there continues to be a shortage of social welfare services which can provide such families with the help they need. Many of the children who lose parental care end up living in state institutions. In light of these circumstances the work of SOS Children's Villages in the area continues to play a crucial role in protecting the rights of children.
What we do in Krasnik
SOS parents provide a stable and loving home for children who have lost parental care (photo: SOS CV Krasnik archives).
SOS Children's Villages works closely with the local community. The SOS Village in Krasnik is close to Lublin and Bilgoraj, where we also support vulnerable families in the neighbourhood through our family strengthening programmes.
Children who can no longer live with their families can find a loving home in one of the 14 SOS families, where they are looked after by the SOS parents. The children are fully integrated into the surrounding community, as they attend the local schools alongside children from the area. The children in our care are offered special support according to their needs, be it with their school work or with therapy. Many after-school activities take place in the neighbourhood, and many activities that we organise in the village are well attended by local children.
Young people who are ready to leave their SOS families move into shared accommodation while attending further education or training. The young people can either stay in Krasnik or join our SOS Youth Programme in nearby Lublin. With the support of qualified staff, they learn to shoulder responsibilities and make their own decisions.