Priorities of Support
Having set priorities of her support to be the projects in the area of education and social support and support for children, including children with special needs and children left without parental care, the First Lady of Latvia Iveta Vējone has become a patroness of several projects:
SOS Children’s Villages
The First Lady of Latvia Iveta Vējone has agreed to become the patroness of the Association of SOS Children’s Villages to draw public attention to the importance of the family care and promote the development of the SOS Children’s villages.
“In the SOA Children’s villages, children do all the things like in a family, a mother educates them, they assist in cooking meals and cleaning up the house,” admitted Iveta Vējone.
About SOS Children’s Villages
The Latvian Association of SOS Children’s Villages is a non-governmental charity organisation that provides long-term family care for children left without parental care and maintains family support centres in several Latvian municipalities. In foster families in two SOS Children’s villages (in Īslīce un Valmiera) and in SOS homes for youth in Jelgava, 140 children and young people from all over Latvia have found support, security, and a new home. There are 59 children, who found their new home in 12 families in SOS Children’s village in Īslīce now.
Support to foster families and children left without parental care
The First Lady of Latvia Iveta Vējone constantly supports the children left without parental care, as well as foster families and their movement in Latvia. On 31 October 2016, she participated in a press conference held in the Riga Castle, when the public was informed about the first study carried out in Latvia on foster family movement in Latvia and its future prospects.
On 15 November 2016, Iveta Vējone visited the Riga Branch of Social Care Centre Riga. This Centre provides long-term social care and social rehabilitation services to orphans and children left without parental care of up to two years of age, as well as children with physical and mental disabilities. The First Lady of Latvia emphasised that our common task was to ensure that no new-born would come to children’s home and that every child who was currently living in children’s homes in Latvia would have an opportunity to grow up in a family like and loving environment.
On 1 November 2017, at the conference “The Needs of the Child: Ideals and Reality in Extrafamilial Childcare” held in the Riga Castle, there was a broad discussion among experts of the out-of-home care sector about the needs of children in out-of-home care and the deinstitutionalisation process implemented in the country.
Nearly 400 out-of-family care professionals and decision-makers attended the conference inter alia Members of the Saeima and councillors of local governments, representatives of state administration, heads of municipal social services and Orphan’s courts, heads of out-of-home care institutions as well as other experts of other forms of care, and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
Care program for prematurely born children “Safe Pallium”
The First Lady of Latvia Mrs Iveta Vējone has agreed to become the patroness of the program thus supporting a care program for prematurely born children “Safe Pallium”.
“It is very important for parents of prematurely born children to feel confidence and security alongside anxiety and insecurity. To ensure that there is a well-arranged system in Latvia providing for early medical care to children, thus facilitating the development, and monitoring of those prematurely born children in the future as well,” stated Iveta Vējone.
The program “Safe Pallium” includes the process of monitoring the health of children after they are discharged from the hospital up to their age of two identifying and correcting any health problems early on.
Projects for children and youngsters of the Development Fund of National Rehabilitation Centre Vaivari
Supporting the rehabilitation of children with special needs, the First Lady of Latvia visited the National Rehabilitation Centre in December 2015, where she was acquainted with rehabilitation programs for children and youngsters. During the event, the project “Establishment of the Playground for Children with Functional Disorders” was presented, in the framework of which construction would be started in 2016.
In her turn, on 6 October 2016, Iveta Vējone participated in the opening event of the Playground of the National Rehabilitation Centre Vaivari. She attended the event hosted by the National Rehabilitation Centre Vaivari to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 2 December 2016 where the donation from the Development Fund was presented that would be used in the rehabilitation process as well as for leisure activities of children and adults.
Project “Rediscovery of National Treasures”
To support young people's efforts from Jelgava and Ozolnieki to identify and explore national and local treasures, Iveta Vējone has become a patroness of youth initiative “Rediscovery of National Treasures”.
The initiative will take place from 26 January 2016 to October 2018 when the forms of students from educational establishments from Jelgava City, Jelgava and Ozolnieki regions are invited to explore 20 national treasures of Latvia by doing various exercises there and contesting for prizes.
Latvian Diaspora Schools
The First Lady of Latvia Mrs Iveta Vējone agreed to become a patroness of Latvian diaspora schools upon the initiative of the Education Council of the World Federation of Free Latvians (WFFL), by undertaking to encompass the Latvian children, youngsters, and teachers all around the world with care.
“President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis has stressed that cooperation with the diaspora is among his presidential priorities. Thus, the commitment of the First Lady of Latvia to take on this responsibility will be an invaluable assistance to the promotion of the Latvian education abroad,” recognised the WFFL.
When participating in the state visits abroad, the First Lady of Latvia Mrs Iveta Vējone attends weekend schools of the diaspora in the corresponding country and meets with their representatives.
The Latvian weekend schools exist abroad for more than 60 years. For many decades, they have been educational and cultural centres for the Latvian community, where the younger generation was provided an opportunity to learn the Latvian language, literature, history, and many other subjects in order to keep the Latvianness alive at the time, when Latvia was under hostile power, and to promote and maintain a link with Latvia now, when one can speak of the Latvian people in the whole world in the modern global context.
There are around 100 Latvian diaspora schools at present, where the total number of students is nearly 2,000 children and youngsters. The number of schools and the number of students are constantly increasing.
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
To support the strengthening of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) as the core value of national classical music circulation, the First Lady Iveta Vējone became a patroness of the orchestra in late December 2015.
Latvian National Opera and Ballet
At the end of 2015, the President of Latvia and Mrs Iveta Vējone became patrons of the Latvian National Opera and Ballet.
“The Latvian National Opera and Ballet is the pearl of Riga and entire Latvia thanks to its high artistic quality. I would like to express my gratitude to all persons, who work every day so that new ideas would be created and implemented, by transforming this house into the temple of opera and ballet. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet is able to offer both golden classics and innovative and modern performances, productions for all generations to the audience. We can be proud that the artists from the Latvian Opera and Ballet perform on the best stages in the world. In reply to the invitation, my spouse and I agreed to become patrons of the Latvian National Opera and Ballet. We will provide support so that the Latvian National Opera and Ballet develop and its name is widely heard in the world. I wish that when hearing the word ‘Riga’ and ‘Latvia’, everybody would remember our White House and its high artistic level,” admitted Raimonds Vējonis.