Large Family of the Year award goes to wonderful Guzhov family with five children
The Estonian Association of Large Families gave the award of the Large Family of the Year to the Guzhov family from Vihterpalu. They are building a home for themselves in the countryside and are real role models for managing change. As winners of the competition, they get a 10,000-euro scholarship from Bigbank.
The Large Family of the Year consists of mother Lora, father Andrei and the children – Radomir,17, Vlademir,15, Miroslav, 10, Yaromir, 5, and baby Svetomir, 1. The family moved recently from the city to Vihterpalu, where they are building an environmentally friendly home, keep pets, quails and bees, and want to promote local life.
President of the Estonian Association of Large Families, Aage Õunap explained that the judges chose the Guzhovs as Large Family of the Year because of their positive attitude to life and enormous willpower. „The Guzhov family is a sterling example that everything starts from the mindset,“ Õunap said. „Their enthusiasm and commitment in facing new challenges is absolutely amazing, they are so caring about other people and the environment, and as people, so resourceful and friendly,“ added Õunap.
According to Jonna Pechter, Bigbank Estonia Country Manager, the Guzhov family is extremely industrious, active, and absolutely inspiring. „They are building an incredibly special, green home for themselves, the children pursue various hobbies and interests, the mother is dreaming of creating a ceramics studio, to offer her own children and others from the neighbourhood some interesting activities. Hopefully, the 10,000-euro scholarship helps bring these dreams closer,“ Pechter said.
Please Meet the Guzhovs - Large Family of the Year 2021!
Andrei, the father works as psychologist at Tallinn Prison. According to Andrei, he does not view his family as a pretty picture on the cover of a magazine, but rather, as an ordinary family with its own difficulties and numerous challenges. „What sets us apart from others, is maybe the fact that we are quite industrious and do not complain, when we have difficulties or challenges, but always try to overcome them in a calm, practical and creative manner so that we could just carry on with our lives and dreams. We have a motto – there is no such thing as a problem, there are just challenges that need overcoming and valuable experiences,“ the father explained.
In addition to his interests, Andrei is developing a programme to help people who want to give up smoking and, together with the Tallinn Family Center, supports an anti-violence counselling group.
According to Andrei, the main challenge at present is building the family home. „Our dream is to create a home with our own hands, that would be close to our hearts and a special place for our children, so that when they grow up, they would bring their own children here,“ Andrei said.
„Jokingly we could be called ecofreaks, but what we really do is support organic farming. Both in the house and in the fields, we try to be as close to the nature as possible, and recycle what we can. Our house is also going to be environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient,“ added Andrei.
„Actually, the neighbours call us work freaks, for we often work until sunset and even after the sun has gone down, with flashlights. We are learning by doing and are sharing what we have learnt with our kids.“
„There are quite many animals in our household: two cats, a dog, six bee colonies and quails. Learning to know the bees is the most exciting activity at present, they are like aliens from outer space for us! But bees are so important for the nature! Without them the land lies barren,“ Andrei explained.
Andrei calls her wife Lora „a creative spirit“, for despite her education as a social worker, she has so many different artistic interests, which she tries to pursue in addition to raising the children and managing the large household.
Lora has several exotic musical instruments at home, including the ukulele and kalimba. She also likes to draw. Lora is an ardent gardener-collector. She would create her own botanical gardens if she could. According to Andrei she has really green fingers, everything she plants, takes root and bears fruit. „On many an occasion Lora has rescued plants about to be thrown out – she asks if she could have the poor moribund, takes it home, pampers it a bit and as a rule, brings the plant back to life to everyone’s pleasure,“ Andrei praised his wife.
After they moved to the country Lora became interested in ceramics. She dreams about her own ceramics studio, so that their own kids and other village children would have something interesting to do, for there are not many opportunities of the kind for country children. Currently the family efforts are devoted to building a small workshop for Lora, where she could engage in creating works of stained glass.
The eldest son, 17-year-old Radomir is studying at Tallinn Construction School. He and his brother Vlademir used to go in for competitive ballroom dancing, but after moving to the country, Radomir became interested in crafts. He wants to become an architect. To do so, he wants to study his future profession from the very „foundations“ and by working as a builder, learn to know better the real soul and design of houses.
Vlademir, 15, is interested in computers and sees himself as a software programmer in the future. Vlademir, like the other children in the family, helps his parents in babysitting, gardening, on the construction site and sometimes even cooking.
10-year-old Miroslav is a happy third grader. He too often helps his parents, and he is fond of the family cats and interested in apiculture.
Yaromir, 5, is the most energetic child of the family. He likes to play outside with the family pet, the mixed-breed Stella, who shares the lively and cheerful disposition of Yaromir.
One-year-old Svetomir is the baby of the whole family. According to parents, he is a very inquisitive kid, having recently learned to walk and now discovering climbing up things.
You can read more about the Guzhovs at: https://www.valgusekoda.eu
The Large Family of the Year competition was held for the twelfth time this year. There were 68 families participating in 2021, from all over Estonia. The jury of the competition was made up of representatives of the Estonian Association of Large Families and Bigbank, the patron of the competition Urmas Vaino and last year’s winners – the Alev family from Võrumaa.
The Estonian Association of Large Families was founded in 1996. It is an umbrella organisation for families of four and more children, whose aim is to recognise and support large families. The Association is constituted of a network of 21 county-level organisations, with 1,800 families of four and more children as members, with a total of more than 8,500 children.