SOTAS is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in Lithuaniain 2002 at the initiative of several friends who wished to respond to the needs of young people and families experiencing difficulties. Its main mission is to strengthen the value of every person by paying special attention to children and adult education.
Objectives of SOTAS’ activities:
- To improve the well-being and overall social integration of children and families, with special focus on education at all levels;
- to strengthen the family as the primary and most important environment for personality development, to foster common human values and to provide social and educational support to children and families in difficulty;
- to encourage solidarity and partnerships between non-governmental and public institutions and to create a cooperative network in order to satisfy the needs of people who need help;
- to join together in creating new and more effective social policies related to the well-being of children, young people and their families, and a social culture based on underlying values and positive attitudes.
– Children Day Care Centre. SOTAS provides a safe, responsive and attentive environment and education based upon a relationship. It offers children the possibility to spend time meaningfully, as well as opportunities for self-expression. It is a place where they learn to take care of themselves and of others, and get to know themselves and their talents. Children are helped by volunteers to do their homework and participate in educational games. Various educational and recreational activities are organized including music lessons, creative art workshops, games, cooking lessons, sport, dance, presentations about various countries and cultures, sightseeing, theatre, summer camps, and others. Children improve their communication, creativity, autonomy, responsibility and self-control skills; they discover their talents and their self-confidence grows. Thanks to the attention, professionalism and creativity of our educators and volunteers the activities are continually modified to respond better to the needs of the children who attend the centre. The children are also provided with free meals.
– Social and psychological services for families. Families are affected by multiple and complex problems such as long-term unemployment, lack of social and/or parenting skills, problems related to a child’s behaviour, crisis of family relations, violence, alcoholism, incapability to deal with social problems which cause a permanent crisis or social exclusion. In order to prevent child neglect and abandonment, it is necessary to give comprehensive social support to the family. We seek to restore and enhance family functions by providing consultations with social workers, educators or psychologists and by organizing training groups for improving parenting skills. Parents learn alternative adequate methods for child education, means of understanding their children’s needs, characteristics of child development, etc.
– Foster care centre. SOTAS provides social and psychological assistance and support to foster and adoptive families, also is responsible for search, preparation and evaluation of people who wish to become foster or adoptive parents, provides assistance both during and after the adoption process, as well as supporting self-help groups, training courses, etc.
– Official AVSI (Italy) partner for international adoptions (since 2004, 274 children have been adopted by Italian families).
– Social policy: lobbying in order to strengthen and protect the family institution, participating in working groups instituted by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and Vilnius Municipality with the aim of creating more effective social policy (e.g. as regards foster care), providing consultations on legislation and policy proposals in the field of family and child welfare, developing partnerships and encouraging collaboration among governmental agencies and NGOs.
– Organizing training, seminars and conferences and preparing methodical publications for social workers, educators, other specialists and interested persons focused on topical issues related to social work, foster care and adoption. These include, among others, work with families, the process of family empowerment, social worker’s motivation, principles and values, building a social net and raising adopted and foster children.