The ambassadors of Latvian Honor Family year
Armands Simsons, father of 4 daughters, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
“We have integrated well in the public both when we had only 1 child and now that we have 4. I think that we are not missing out on anything because we live in Marupe and the municipality here is very good. We have never known the problem of waiting in long queues for kindergarten or school, or moreso that the both are located close to our home and thus this makes the logistics easy. We also feel great support with every child, for example, we have a really tiny payment on the real estate tax. Also because we have the status of a large family, our road tax is way smaller that for others after we pass the technical check.”
Aurēlija Anužīte–Lauciņa, mother of 6, actress, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
„When people see me with 6 kids they are usually positively shocked, sometimes even grab their heads. But that is not only in Latvia like that. Once an Austrian guy asked me if all of my children are mine and if I gave birth to them? And wanted to take photos of us. From time to time my family and I live in Austria that is why it is easy for me to make comparisons. For example, I love that during the weekends the supermarkets are closed in Austria. That enables more and more activites for children to be built. People are visiting each other more ofthen, go to events that are meant for families. If the supermarkets are closed during the weekends that is a gesture from the country: we do our utmost to ensure that families spend time together during the weekends. I appreciate the “3+ Family card” that ensures support to large families, and also the people are very friendly and helpful.
Mostly people think that life with many children is difficult, but that is not true. Only now that I have many kids I see the real life – not embellished and normal, which is beautiful. The thing that I have realized now with the birth of my children: I ave more strength than I thought I had. And nothing can compensate the happiness when you see your children smiling.
Inga Akmentiņa – Smildziņa, mother of 3, manager of Latvian parent organisation Mammamuntetiem.lv, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
"I absolutely think that I have the most wonderful children. Every parent should think that. The golden moment is when you are with your child and don’t think of anything else. My kids are definitely smarter than me, their ideas are spectacular. Even sitting and listening to their thoughts about life – that is amazing. That is the golden moment. Hearing you child, getting to know him. I wish more parents would experience these golden moments with their kids."
Agnese Drunka, mother of 3, tv and radio host, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
“I think that what attitude you have, is the attitude that you will receive. If you go in the public with the thought that we have nothing, nobody loves us and doesn’t want to see us, then that is the attitude of others. But we are going with joy and pride, without asking anybody anything, we just go – as we are – as a family with 3 kids. I of course don’t knoe how feels a family with 10 kids. That might be more complex than us with the three out of which the oldest one is already grown up. But I think that we as a society are tolerant, the infrastructure has been created so that a family with children can go out in the public and not be stuck inside four walls. People also travel more and see the differences with other countries, where small children and families are monitored and looked after. As a mother of three I feel very well. I feel respected, and so are my kids.”
Pēteris Leiškalns, father of 12, social rights expert, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
" For the current situation in Latvia I have unexpectedly many children, that is why I don’t speak about it loudly. What we don’t give our kids today will hurt us in the future. It is important for the society itself that the child develops normally and that he/she can perform professionally in the future and thus pay taxes, rather than having them live on the tax money of others. In the recent years the politicians have realized that their attitude towards families with kids in the 90’s has given negative results in nowadays, especially if we look further in the future, because in the demografical politics it is significant what you did 20-30 years ago.”
Kristiāna Tēberga, mother of 7, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
„The most common issue for large families is the living space. To buy an apartment – that is impossible for a large family, and to rent – too complex. Mostly the phrases in the ads are: we rent out to families without children and pets. When our family was having a hard time, the municipality offered a living space that was no more than 50 sq.m. – for a large family this was absolutely not appropriate. And in the meantime it is difficult to get the state grant for first real estate purchase, because the family has only one person working, as the other one is looking after the children.”
Baiba Ozola – mother of 10, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
„I think that Latvia is lacking events that are specifically arranged for families with children and that raise the family value. Many large families don’t talk about their needs, because they are afraid of the reactions and words of those around them: you gave birth, you take care of everything.”
Ilmārs Mežs, father of 6, demographer, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
" Honor family, large families are the basis of the Latvian country and the sustainability of the nation. If I look a few years back when I was walking with my first children in Riga in a stroller, I don’t remember seeing any other dad with a stroller. Now as I am riding bikes with my youngest kids, I have the sense that there are as many dads as there are mothers. Let us give up our seats, let us help lifting the strollers, let us give way when possible. We will feel better because we had helped out and also these young people will have a pleasant remembrance of the situation.”
Līga Liepa–Kivilande, mother of 5, doula, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
"I would like to emphasize this Honor family initiative project because it has given a national recognition that we see you and we appreciate you.”
Jēkabs Rēdlihs, father of 2, grew up with 3 brothers, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
“Family and kids are the most important for us. This thought was imprinted in me by my parents when they had to raise 4 sons. When our first-born child was born, only then I realized what unconditional love is and that I as the parent am the most important person in the world for this child. And I think that this is what the society has to appreciate – our children are everything for us and we are everything for them. It saddens me to read the stories about children who wait in long lines to get to a doctor or a educational institutions – this is what doesn’t allow us to state that we are family-friendly. I am happy to see renovated playgrounds, which I would like to see even more. And it is pleasant to see that restaurants are giving a thought to having proper children areas. I would have a suggestion for the theatres – it would be appreciated to have an option to have sort of children day-care – I am pretty sure that it would be a high-demand service. But most importantly we must have happy and well rested parents and happy kids.”
Madara Biedriņa, mother of 3, the ambassador of Latvian Honor Family year
"Each country has its pros and cons. If you think that medical expenses are high in Latvia, then in the US you should multiply it by 10. I made sure of it every time when Emils was sick. I didn't like the medical system too: the doctors prescribe only two types of medicine: tylenol and antibiotics. That is why I brought a bag of medicine from Latvia that I had purchased during the summer. If my child got sick, I called my doctor in Latvia, consulted her and then gave the needed medicine. There are also things that I would love to change in Latvia. One of them is the education system. No matter if we talk about the US, Great Britain or Finland - kids go to school with joy there. I would love the kids in Latvia to have the same enjoyment while studying and not to be punished psychologically if they are not as good at something. For example, Emils is great with maths, but not very good at writing. Of course there should be some borders, but I would love the teachers to respect that all subjects can't be mastered to the same level."