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Frontpage News 2012 Support centre for children with special needs

Children at the support centre had prepared a puppet theatre presentation of the Three Little Pigs.jpg

Support centre for children with special needs in Ventspils, Latvia

  • The Latvian Children Fund and the Ventspils City Council have applied a €300,000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to open a much needed support centre for children with special needs.

    The new multifunctional support centre “Cimdins” is located in the Baltic seaport city of Ventspilts on the west coast of Latvia. The centre will ensure access to social and medical rehabilitation services for the region’s 300 children and youth with special needs and their families.

    Volunteer work rewarded
    Centre Director Ieva Samite had witnessed first hand the need for better suited premises to help the local children. At one point, she even made room in her own flat for a small support centre. In addition, the local church offered one of its rooms for group activities.

    Since its opening in November 2010, at least 20 children have been coming to the centre every day, often reaching the maximum capacity of 27 children. At the centre, the families can receive psychologist consultations, and to a limited extent also medical services for their children. The centre also serves as a point for information exchange, where more experienced parents can give good advice and words of encouragement to parents facing similar challenges.

    (from the left) Ambassador Jan Grevstad, director of the support centre Ms. Ieva Samite, representativ.JPG

    From the left: Ambassador Jan Grevstad, director of the support centre Ms. Ieva Samite, representative from the Latvia Children Fund Ms. Veronika Lemesevska


    Funding ensures stability
    One of the most telling examples of the importance of the centre’s services, is the feedback from two local families who are now able to keep their children in care at home instead of placing these two children in social care institutions.

    “Cimdins” is also looking into possibilities of adding a rehabilitation programme for children with cerebral palsy to its list of services. There is a great necessity for this treatment in Latvia – at the moment families often have to wait 1.5 years to benefit from a 10 days’ rehabilitation course.

    The City Council is committed to cover salaries and running costs of the centre, ensuring a certain level of stability for the centre’s future activity. Considering that services for disabled children in Latvia are underdeveloped, the EEA and Norway Grants contribution to this sector has been indispensable in the Ventpils region.

    Photos: Norwegian Embassy in Riga

    Read also: Parent-child bonding through touch
    Tactile stimulation, taught by an NGO supported by the EEA and Norway Grants, brings Latvian parents closer to connecting with their disabled children.

  • Country:


    Project title:


    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Health and childcare



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project duration:

    15 months

    Project cost:

    € 331,321

    Grant rate:


    Grant agreement date:

    05 June 2009

    The purpose of the Project is to create a multifunctional support centre for the treatment and rehabilitation of children with special needs and disabled children in Ventspils, with the overall objective of enhancing the integration opportunities of children with special needs and disabled children into society and improve their quality of life. Reference is made to the application dated 9 June 2008 and any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed project shall include the following activities and results:

    -renovation works of the building of the centre;

    -purchase and installation of the equipment for the centre;

    -training of the staff and parents involved in the project work;

    -creation of data base of children with special needs in Ventspils region and

    -project management and publicity.

    The Project Promoter is the Latvia Children's Fund. Subject to the national law the Project shall be implemented in partnership with Ventspils City Council's Social Office.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that Ventspils City Council's Social Office shall provide at least 10 percent of the estimated eligible project cost.