Doubi was the first location in the Czech Republic where SOS Children's Villages started working. In 1974 our villages in what was then Czechoslovakia fell into state hands and it was only after the political changes in December 1989 that we were able to re-start our work in the country.
What we do in Doubi
SOS Children's Villages has been present in Doubi since 1970. When the village was operating at its full capacity, children who could no longer be cared for by their parents could find a loving home in one of the ten SOS family homes. The children from SOS families were fully integrated into the life of the local community as they attended school alongside children from neighbouring families. As the children grew older they would move into the SOS Youth Programme in Karlový Váry, where they could continue to live while they attended further education or received training.
At present the services which SOS Children's Villages offers in Doubi are being re-assessed. Although the number of children in need continues to be high, the national legal framework and local circumstances have changed. During 2013, a new proposal for our work in the area will be finalised. The children in our care will be our priority during this period of change; we will ensure that they continue to receive the care which they deserve.
Vulnerable families often lack the support they need
Doubí, which has approximately 7,790 inhabitants is located about 120 kilometres north-west of Prague and close to the border with Germany. SOS Children's Village Doubi is ten kilometres from the city centre of Karlový Váry, which is home to over 50,000 people. The town of Karlový Váry is a very well-known traditional spa, which attracts visitors to enjoy its thermal waters as well as its beautiful surroundings. The town is also famous for its glass and porcelain manufacturing and its herbal liqueur.
The local government is trying to increase the number of visitors to the area, thus hoping to improve the lives of the local population.
Shortly after the political changes of 1989 the area became notorious due to prostitution, often visible on the main transport routes near the town. A combination of social and economic changes had pushed many women into making a living through prostitution. Various initiatives were instigated in order to alleviate the problem and restore the image of this historical spa.
In the recent past the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has criticized the Czech Republic for the high number of institutionalized children. In particular, there is a high number of Roma children who have lost parental care and are now living in institutional orphanages. Children from the following social groups are also at risk of losing parental care: those with parents who have physical or mental disabilities, those who live in single parent families or in households where parents do not have a high level of education. Families who are in a vulnerable situation often find it hard to obtain support.
A need to provide children with a loving home and young people with a future
SOS Children's Villages has been very active in the development and implementation of the child protection policy in the Czech Republic. Given the number of children without parental care who are in institutions, the SOS Children's Villages idea that children could be looked after in loving SOS families, continues to be very important. Children who have grown up in SOS families are individually supported until they can live independently.