Big problems in a small town

Narva is the third largest town in Estonia with population of about 65 000 people. It is one of the biggest industrial towns of Estonia where factories, power stations are located. In spite of this there are many poverty-stricken families and families with one parent and several children. Many people work not by their profession for the minimum payment. The number of unemployed people is large because of the reduction of workplaces in the enterprises of Narva town. Because of social situation Narva is totally different from other parts of Estonia More than 10% of Narva’s inhabitants find themselves in poverty. There are 8 communal houses in the town, where lower-income, unemployed, former prisoners live. The main problem seems to be passive way of life among young people, particularly those who come from poverty-stricken or unemployed families.

Mercy Center

Narva 1993

There are lots of young people in Narva who get into troubles as a result of rough changes happening during last years. According to mass media data there are around 5 000 prisoners in Estonia, 50% of whom come from Ida-Virumaa region where Narva is located. Illegal trade of tobacco products, alcohol and drugs is distributed. The parents of present teenagers often connect drugs to parties and clubs. They hope if they can forbid children from spending their evening time in the streets, they will manage to reduce the risk. Actually drugs are distributed enough outside the parties. Legal alcohol and tobacco are available for most under 18 years of age.

Next pictures depict a place near Narva where the traces of drug users are left.


Mercy CenterMercy CenterMercy Center



Because of problematic social situation in Narva region, big number of socially unprotected and unemployed people and also because of problems with children and youth the idea to create a Mercy Center appeared.

Creation of Mercy Center together with Public Youth Center and children's rooms inside communal houses followed the only aim – to turn away the teenagers and youth of 6 – 20 years of age from the negative influence of street life and give them hope of creating better future. Moreover, our target group children could offer a hand of help or advice to the other same children as they were.