There are about 5,000 children in approximately 100 children’s homes (institutional care) in Slovakia. Staff in children’s homes are paid to care for the children, prioritise safety and physical needs, rather than meeting the psycho-social individual needs of the child and addressing their traumas, which are essential for a successful transition into adulthood. After leaving institutional care many of them fail to integrate into society.
BUDDY is a community based, volunteer, train the trainer model created by siblings Ladislav and Lucia in 2006. The team of psychologists and social care experts carefully selects, trains, and matches one volunteer with one child (age 12+) living in a children’s home. The volunteers are continuously supported, trained and empowered to develop a long-term relationship based on trust and acceptance.
Success for us is when a vulnerable child develops a long-term quality relationship with the BUDDY volunteer, and a life with dignity - a regular income, stable housing and a positive social network.
„I´ve been working and living independently for one and half year. I started to believe that I´m able to manage my life,“ said the 22-years old Kristina who has known her BUDDY volunteer Alena for one year.