The SOS Children’s Villages approach
Our approach is unique. By working with local people and organisations, we identify need and provide practical and emotional tools to prevent family breakdown and child abandonment. With a focus on the long term, we empower families to move towards financial independence and break the cycle of poverty.
When children lose their parents and have nowhere else to go, we create new families. In the care of an SOS mother, children live in an SOS Children’s Village at the heart of the community. Free to enjoy their childhood, children learn through school and play, developing into responsible adults with a promising future ahead of them.
Where local schools are inadequate, we set up our own schools to ensure children receive a decent standard of education. Medical centres deliver healthcare to those who would otherwise go without. Each year, our global work reaches over two million people.
Why we are best equipped to help families in trouble
SOS Children’s Villages:
- is a global authority on nurturing and supporting families
- directly cares for orphaned and abandoned children
- works with local communities to keep fragile families together
- builds and runs nursery, primary and secondary schools
- provides vocational training for young people and adult carers
- provides healthcare tailored to the needs of local communities at our medical centres
- has a long-term presence in many developing countries
- is well-placed to help in times of crisis
Education and the family
In the vast majority of cases, growing up with their natural family is the best way to ensure children have a happy childhood and a good upbringing with strong future prospects.
First and foremost in a child’s upbringing is a loving mother and father. An important aspect of our work involves working with fragile families to save them from collapse.
Our family strengthening work is highly dependent on the individual case. However, many families are at risk because parents cannot afford to pay doctor’s fees or for their children’s education. Here, we offer assistance to help families cope with financial pressures which might otherwise lead them to abandon their children out of desperation.
We also offer guidance to those struggling with the challenges of parenthood. Some mothers need help during particularly difficult times in their children’s development, or do not know how to handle certain aspects of their child’s journey to adulthood. Others struggle with local problems such as the psychological impact of ongoing violence, and we are able to offer help here as well.
Sadly, many children do lose their parents. When this happens, we are able to offer many a home in an SOS Children’s Village. Each Village has its own local character but all are united by a shared commitment to family life, education and strong community values.
Bringing learning within reach
A good education is key to escaping poverty. Lack of basic education keeps generation upon generation living in the same poor conditions. This is why SOS Children’s Villages emphasises the importance of learning, building schools which accommodate children throughout their educational career where necessary
In many cases, the majority of admissions are drawn from the neighbouring community rather than the Village itself. For our work to have long-term benefits, we need to reach as many families as we can.
After school, we provide essential vocational training to young people to enable them to enter the world of work equipped for employment. It is often the skills deficit arising from poor education which causes ongoing generational poverty and we believe that a good, all-round education has lifelong benefits.
The years ahead
Over the next seven years our work with children and families will ensure that a million children will grow up with love and respect – and the security that enables them to fulfil their potential.