Newsroom|Meet the Large Family of the Year 2024 award and €10,000 scholarship winners – the 7-member Saviir family from Tartumaa

Meet the Large Family of the Year 2024 award and €10,000 scholarship winners – the 7-member Saviir family from Tartumaa

This year's Large Family of the Year award and the €10,000 scholarship sponsored by Bigbank have been awarded to the Saviir family from Nõo, Tartumaa, who have five children. The winners were announced, and the award was presented on Sunday at the Family Day event held at the Tallinn Zoo, which saw over 1,400 participants from across Estonia.

Large Family of the Year Award winner, family Aviir from Nõo together with head of Bigbank Estonia, Jonna Pechter

The non-profit Estonian Association of Large Families has organised the Family of the Year competition for the 15th time this year, with 68 families with four or more children from all over Estonia participating. According to the association's president, Aage Õunap, recognising and highlighting families is important and maintaining traditions is worthwhile.

“This year's Family of the Year is a community-oriented family. In addition to managing their daily tasks and fulfilling the dreams of each family member, they collectively contribute to the well-being of their local area. Their unity, hard work, love, and entrepreneurship strengthen the community spirit and serve as a great inspiration and example for other families. Their goal is to raise knowledgeable, healthy, and environmentally conscious citizens of the world,” praised Õunap.

Jonna Pechter, head of Bigbank Estonia, stated that the bank supports the Estonian Association of Large Families and the organisation of the Family of the Year competition as a cornerstone of Estonian life. “This year's Family of the Year is cohesive and active, and their energy extends throughout their local area. The father wishes for Nõo to become the best place for young families. If every community had someone with such a motto, each and every corner of Estonia would be a wonderful place for all families,” explained Pechter. As a member of the jury, she believes that the winning family will wisely use the scholarship for family activities, supporting their children's interests, education, and skill development.

The 2024 Family of the Year – the Saviir family lives in Nõo, Tartumaa, where mother Marit and father Janar raise their five children: Sander (12), Joosep (9), Kaarel (7), Mihkel (4), and Samuel (2). Both parents have a background in science education and work as entrepreneurs. They are leaders and active participants in all local community activities, whether it’s building the largest snowman in Estonia or organising the Nõo Veskijärve triathlon – their main goal is always to bring the community together and accomplish something great and enjoyable.

The entire family is very sporty, and all the school-aged boys have several training sessions each day, which involves significant daily logistics to get them to swimming in Tartu, soccer training in Elva, chess competitions, or other activities. Since their eldest son Sander was born deaf, the family is bilingual – using both Estonian sign language and spoken Estonian.

According to Aage Õunap, the "Family of the Year" title is awarded to a large family that upholds the values of unity and family richness, with at least four children. The aim of this title is to appreciate and recognise large families in Estonia and present them as role models for society. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Family Day gathering in May and the 15th selection of the Family of the Year. This year, Lidl Estonia joined the Family Day supporters, assisting with catering and prizes for participants.

The Estonian Association of Large Families was founded in 1996. It is an umbrella organisation that brings together large families, focusing on valuing and supporting them. The association's network consists of 19 regional member organisations, including more than 4,000 large families with over 14,000 children growing up in total.