Save the Children Finland reached the age of 90 years in 2012.
Below is an abstract describing the most prominent milestones of our national and international history over these many decades.
In the Finnish Civil War, 600 children lost both their parents and 20,000 were left without parents capable of taking care of their children.
Ester Hällström, who later became president Ståhlberg’s wife, acquaints herself with the Danish foster home system.
In Great Britain, Eglantyne Jebb and her sister create in 1919 the Save the Children Fund (SCF), which provides help for child victims of the First World War in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, the Balkans, and Hungary; aid is also given to Armenian refugees in Turkey.
Ester Ståhlberg establishes in 1922 the Koteja Kodittomille Lapsille (Homes for Homeless Children) association whose relief efforts help place 150 destitute children in foster homes. Karjalan lastenkylä (the Karelian Children’s Village), the biggest children’s home run by the association, is opened. A total of 1,409 children receive help and care from the association during its first three years.
In Great Britain, Eglantyne Jebb sets out to make children’s rights and welfare a global issue, and the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” drafted by her is adopted by the League of Nations. This declaration later served as one of the main inspirations behind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The International Save the Children Union is founded to give momentum to child protection efforts, and most European child protection organisations become its members.
The British Save the Children Fund provides help for refugees of the Spanish Civil War and for Jewish refugees.
In Finland, the Koteja Kodittomille Lapsille association becomes one of the founders of the Finnish Slot Machine Association, which provides financial support for Save the Children Finland still today.
During its first 15 years of activity, the association finds homes for the placement of 5,000 children.
After the outbreak of the Finnish-Soviet Winter War in 1939, the association helps displace children from cities to safer countryside areas, searches for missing children, and procures clothing for children. Following a Swedish initiative and with organising assistance from our association, numerous Finnish children are evacuated to safety from the ravages of war to the neighbouring country.
The funds amounting to approximately three million Finnish marks of the time, raised by Swedish children to help their Finnish age mates, are delivered to the Koteja Kodittomille Lapsille association. An organisation under the name Pelastakaa Suomen Lapset (Save Finland’s Children) is formed to administer the use of the funds. The association obtains Swiss personal sponsors for 160 Finnish children, and distributes food aid to 14,000 children. In order to strengthen international child protection contacts, the association’s name is changed to Pelastakaa Lapset ry – Rädda Barnen rf (Save the Children Finland), i.e., it adopts the name pattern already being used by similar Save the Children organisations in several other countries. Children’s holiday home services are launched to allow town-dwelling children to spend summer holidays in countryside homes.
In Great Britain, the Save the Children Fund focuses on helping European children in the aftermath of World War II. The organisation starts to draw up reports on the conditions of the world’s children.
Save the Children Finland is one of the founding members of Lasten Päivän Säätiö (Children’s Day Foundation), which creates the Linnanmäki Amusement Park in Helsinki.
Child protection endeavours become professionalised, and at the end of the decade all the organisation’s employees are professional social workers. The first small-group home is established, and these homes start to replace institutional shelters little by little. Through Save the Children Finland’s services, more children are placed with adoptive parents than in foster homes.
Save the Children Finland’s system of representatives is abolished as a result of the professional nature of the organisations’ work. Inviting Finnish sponsors for foreign children starts.
Placements of children in adoption through Save the Children Finland peak at 243 per year. The organisation starts to give training for foster and adoptive parents.
The International Save the Children Union changes its name to International Save the Children Alliance, with the national Save the Children organisations of Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and United States as its members.
The reformed Finnish Adoption Act guarantees equal rights to adopted and biological children. Save the Children Finland starts to work as a service provider for intercountry adoptions. The decade is marked with international emergency relief work. For instance, aid is provided for victims of famine in Ethiopia.
Save the Children Finland becomes a member of the International Save the Children Alliance and starts using the Alliance’s common emblems, such as its logo.
Save the Children Finland fights for children’s rights and strives to bring about immediate and lasting improvements in children’s lives throughout the world. This is done by means of first-rate professional work, advocacy in child policy matters, and help and relief efforts. The International Save the Children has 29 members and fights for children’s rights in 120 countries all over the world.