Three years ago, the foundation stone for the first Macedonian SOS Children's Village was laid in a suburb of the capital Skopje. After a number of construction delays and bureaucratic obstacles, Stefan* was the first child to be admitted at the end of May.
The SOS Children's Village is the first private institution in the country which offers long term family-based care for children in need. Local youth authorities and other social institutions are convinced that this type of out-of-home care is the best to ensure the individual development of each child.
Stefan comes from a poor mountain village in the north east of Macedonia. Due to the dreary social conditions his parents could neither send him to pre-school nor for medical check-ups. He will prepare for his first school year during summer. In the meantime Stefan has found his way around at his new home together with his SOS mother Nermina. He has already found some new friends amongst the children from the neighbourhood.
The co-workers think that the SOS Children's Village, which is designed for 84 children, will be working at half capacity by the end of the year. About 40 children from different nationalities (Macedonian Slavs, Albanians, Roma) are expected. They will bring diversity to life at SOS Children's Village Skopje, just as is the case in the multiethnic children?s villages in neighbouring Bulgaria.
*Name changed by the editor