“It is a human right for a child to grow up “in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”
What is Tvoj Buddy about?
It is a human right for a child to grow up “in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” (UNHCR, 1989). Yet almost 5,000 children in Slovakia do not grow up in their families but in centres for children and families (formerly "children's homes"). Institutional care cannot give them what they need the most: a close relationship with an adult who spends time with them and is not paid to do so. After they leave the centres they often live on the edge of society.
Program BUDDY supports children and young people who cannot grow up in their own families and complements the foster care system. Program BUDDY finds, selects and connects volunteers with children from children’s centres, and then provides them with continuous expert support. The volunteer provides the most valuable resource, their time. When children spend free time with their volunteer, they can build a relationship based on trust. This relationship is healing and provides the basis for meeting the individual needs of the child and supporting them while they are finding their place in society.
'Your Buddy' programme finds, trains and supports volunteers providing individual long-term support for vulnerable children not growing up in their own families.
How do we support Your Buddy?
The VGP Foundation supports a project led by Tvoj Buddy in Slovakia which will help include more children not growing in their own families in the programme and find new volunteers who will accompany these children on their way of integration into society. The volunteers will be evaluated and trained under the professional supervision of psychologists and then matched each with one child in order to become their 'buddies'.
The project foresees including 35 new children before March 2022, matching them with their 'buddies' and organising events for them such as Buddy Day or Buddy Christmas party.
The VGP Foundation also decided to finance related research that will reflect the long-term impact of the programme on the children by regular interviewing.