SSAB has for many years been one of the main partners of SOS Children’s Villages, supporting their work to provide children and families with a better future. SSAB’s support will be continuing for another year as a Christmas gift to our employees. The donation goes to the family support program in Brovary, Ukraine. SSAB is organizing a trip to Brovary at the end of January, so that four of our employees can have the chance to visit the area and witness the work of SOS Children’s Villages on site.

In recent years Ukraine has been plagued by violence and conflicts, especially in the eastern parts of the country. This has resulted in tough economic conditions, and those hardest hit are children and young people. This year’s Christmas gift to our employees is therefore to continue helping these children and young people. There is high unemployment which, combined with a lack of social security, results in many children suffering, and many of them have lost their parents. SOS Children’s Villages is there to provide support to families living in vulnerable conditions and to work preventively. A total of more than 1,000 people are included in the family support programs in Ukraine. The initiatives are based on each family’s unique situation and needs in the form of health care, basic needs such as food and hygiene articles, contacts with psychologists, leisure activities and education. The goal is that the families will be independent and self-sufficient. Various forms of educational support are provided to a total of 295 people, both children and adults. Among other things, they are given the chance to attend courses in IT skills, and they receive guidance and support ahead of future career choices, which contributes to a positive change in society.

Violeta went from hopelessness to happiness

“I know that I can always turn to SOS Children’s Villages when I need help. They are there for us in a way that no one else was before,” says Violeta, a 31-year-old mother of three from Kiev in Ukraine.

Violeta married her husband Mihail when they were both around twenty. Together they had a son, Artur, who is now ten years old, Mila who is four and Soraya who is three. The couple dreamed of a happy life for the family, but the difficult economic situation affected them all, and when Violeta and Mihail talked about things, it often ended in an argument. Artur was the one who suffered the most. He became withdrawn and refused to go to school. In February 2016, Violeta applied for aid from SOS Children’s Villages’ family support program, where she was given psychological support. The family also received support and assistance with hygiene packages and food packages, as well as diapers for the little ones.

This rapid action from SOS Children’s Villages had a big impact on Violeta, who quickly started to feel better. Together with her husband, she registered for all the different workshops provided through the program. They developed their parenting skills, and Violeta started courses in subjects including economics and women’s health. While the parents pursued their further education, the youngest children went to pre-school, which specialized in development for small children. As both girls appeared to have speaking difficulties, they were given help by a speech therapist. At the same time, Artur went to school and studied English and IT together with friends of the same age. Last year Violeta found a part-time job as a web editor, a job she could do from home. Now both she and Mihail are working part time, which has both enhanced their self-esteem and strengthened the family’s situation.

Everyday life is now different for the family. “Every evening we make tea, play, talk and laugh together with our children. We love being together and enjoy each other’s

company. All of this is thanks to the help we received from SOS Children’s Villages. We feel respected as individuals and can turn to the organization if we’re in need of support. We hope that they will continue to help families in the same situation,” says Violeta.