Investment for the future

Dec 18, 2013

Latvia's economic growth and prosperous future depend on its people. Human skills, knowledge, talent, health and well-being build up human capital - resource empowering prosperity of nations. Recognizing the necessity for a long-term investment in human capital to respond to demographic changes, AmCham considers that a greater emphasis on Latvia's people could improve the welfare and well-being of the population, and reduce the emigration.

This past summer our members Hamid Ladjevardi, RMHC Latvija, SOS Children's Villages and other partner organizations formulated a common statement calling to reduce institutional child care. Following this statement, the Advisory Council of the Latvian Foster Family Society was established this fall to continue to promote de-institutionalization reform in Latvia. The following members, including representatives of AmCham, have become members of the Council:

Enrique Garcia, Managing Director and Chairman of the Board CEMEX for NE Europe;
Bernhard Loew, Regional Director and General Manager of the Schlossle Hotel Group;
Jerry Wirth, Partner of RBM Group;
Ilze Doskina, Regional Manager, Baltic American Freedom Foundation;
Eriks Eglitis, Country Manager of Microsoft Latvia and Vice President of AmCham Latvia;
Ivars Slokenbergs, Associate, LAWIN; President of AmCham Latvia;
Irma Kalnina, Business etiquette, protocol, cross-cultural expert and Chairperson, SIA Irmas Kalninas Konsultacija;
Liga Smildzina-Bertulsone, Executive Director and Member of the Board of AmCham Latvia;
Valts Abols, Market Access and Pricing Director, Central Europe, GSK;
Gunnar Ljungdahl, Senior Vice President, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;
Daiga Eiduka, National Program Development Director, SOS Children's Villages in Latvia;
Hamid Ladjevardi, Chairman, American Baltic Investments.

Hamid Ladjevardi, Chairman of American Baltic Investments said: "European Parliament delivered a landmark decision for children on November 21, 2013 as MEP's voted on the key rules that will govern the European Structural Funds for the next seven years - 325 billion Euros were secured to invest in cohesion policy in the period 2014-2020. Explicit references to de-institutionalisation are now included in the Regulations on the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, among others. In Latvia there are a number of dedicated NGO's that are involved in the process of the de-institutionalization of childcare. Amongst them is Latvian Foster Family Society whose mission is to assist foster families create better lives for children under their care. I believe establishing a committed and caring advisory board will help this process by bringing ideas and resources to bear on this noble mission."

Bernhard Loew, Regional Director and General Manager of the Schlossle Hotel Group said: „Family was always important to me. I am blessed with three children of my own and have also two adopted children. I think that families are the cornerstones of any community. Families play a vital role in the well being of our children and in the development of a healthy society. Foster families open their hearts and homes to children living with complex needs and provide them with stability. This needs to be recognized and supported."

Valts Abols, Market Access and Pricing Director, Central Europe, GSK said: "Nowadays we desperately seek solutions to improve demographic situation in Latvia as well as to facilitate the return of families who left country over years of economy crisis. We clearly recognize that above initiatives are essential for long term sustainability of Latvia. However we tend to forget the children already around us. More than 2000 children in Latvia are still not grown up in families, thus making them more unprepared and vulnerable to face the ‘real life'. These children are already here, though often neglected and not helped to develop their ‘roots' in country and society. I'm impressed by commitment of enthusiasts like LFF society and will support their endeavors to raise self-confident and happy children in Latvia."

AmCham focuses on enhancing the future of Latvia by promoting healthy development of children and their rights to grow up in a family environment. This year AmCham started to support Latvian Foster Family Society, an organization promoting social inclusion of orphans and children under the care of foster parents and guardians.

Latvian Foster Families Society (LFF), founded in 1994 with the objective of promoting raising orphans or children left without parental care in a family environment, is comprised of more than 185 foster families and guardians with 336 children residing in different regions of Latvia. LFF provides social assistance to foster families and guardians and promotes social inclusion of children and youth under the care of foster parents and guardians.


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