Rainbow in Kandalaksha, Russia.…
Life in the midnight sun
Rainbow in Kandalaksha, Russia.
I wondered what is it like to be an SOS mother at SOS Children's Village Kandalaksha, in the northwest of Russia, where there is no sun for most of the year?
A few hundred kilometres up north of St. Petersburg, there are the northern lights, which set the winter skies on fire with colour, and the midnight sun, an amazing light throughout the night in summer.
SOS Children's Village Kandalaksha, roughly 100 km from the border to Finland and Norway, has the luck and misfortune of experiencing all the sides of living on that latitude. SOS mother Ira tell us about raising children there.
For two months of summer, the golden sun never dips below the horizon, and after that the long, dark winter sets in and the sun vanishes from the sky. Winters are long and harsh, lasting from October to April, sometimes until May. June brings spring, and the summer is quick to follow. In September cold winds start to blow and rain starts to fall. A few years ago the children had the "luxury" of seeing snow on 1 September.
Ira, a mother from the SOS Village, explains "It means light all the time, everywhere - you have no idea when to go to sleep. Then there are the nights - the children's ability to study and function drops drastically - they sleep almost all the time."
Given the difficult climatic conditions, what motivates Ira during these tiring times? "It's the people that keep me living in this area of the world, despite its unfavourable conditions".
After the floods in Bolivia a child saves a baby dear from the flood.
Child day-care centres for flood victims in Bolivia.
On the 28th of February 2008 SOS reported how thousands of people have again been hit by heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides. Just as it did in 2007, SOS Children's Villages set up temporary relief centres for children.
The official estimates suggest that more than 73,000 families across Bolivia were hit by the effects of La Niña in February 2008. Large areas were flooded the previous year, particularly in the lowland areas of the country. AT that time last year, SOS Children's Villages also set up several emergency relief centres for children, and distributed relief supplies.
SOS Children's Villages set up three temporary community centres in El Alto (in the highlands of Bolivia) and in two districts of Trinidad (in the Department of Beni), which cared for up to 300 children. Over a period of three months, the children received regular meals and medical care, and were taught by their school teachers at the centres.
Also, the children's parents received support and advice, and their communities were encouraged to show solidarity and take on responsibility.