Despite the growing number of families headed by a single parent, single parents remain one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to poverty, housing and energy deficits, and health challenges.
In order to develop an understanding of the needs of single mothers in the European Union, Make Mothers Matter interviewed representatives from six organizations that support single parents in EU member states: Gengle in Italy, the Isadora Duncan Foundation in Spain, LET-FLIGHT in Croatia, Aperio in the Czech Republic, Egyszülős Központ in Hungary, and Pienperheyhdistys ry in Finland. They not only have insight into the needs of single mothers in their country, but also actively work to support them.
In Italy, the organization Gengle primarily helps single mothers. They seek to create networks for mothers to connect with one another, reassure mothers that being single is accepted, and uncover the needs of mothers in the community.
The Isadora Duncan Foundation in Spain helps single mothers with a wide variety of needs, including financial and energy insecurity. They hold workshops to help single mothers find jobs, balance their budget, and use energy efficiently.
For LET-FLIGHT, in Croatia, alimony is a major concern for single parents, who often do not receive this money or are not recognized as divorced. LET-FLIGHT also releases publications on the needs of single parents and organizes support groups for them.
In the Czech Republic, Aperio addresses the mental health needs of single parents through their “Single, but Strong” program. This initiative combines group meetings, online learning, and possible counseling in order to support single parents’ well-being and growth.
Egyszülős Központ, the only single parent organization in Hungary, supports single parents in seven fields: crises, labor market, community building, parenting workshops, children’s programs, prevention of single parenting, and lobbying.
Though single parenthood is not heavily stigmatized in Finland, Pienperheyhdistys ry finds that single parents seek out peer support and connection with other single parents. To support single parents’ needs, Pienperheyhdistys ry organizes peer activities, engages in volunteer work, and advocates for their voice politically.
Ultimately, MMM found that single parents often require support in terms of financial help, housing and energy access, and health care. However, these needs are often overlooked. Raising awareness is vital to meeting these needs.
We would like to thank, above all, Quitterie de Thoury for her support in the realisation of this report. During her internship at MMM, we appreciated her research and contacts with the organisations interviewed for the paper. She was supported by two of our other interns Clara Luciani and Olivia Seal in different stages of the project.
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