on 31. May 2012 by foundationcommons in Foundations, Comments (0)

SOS Children’s Village

In 1949, with no more than 40 dollars to his name, an Austrian man named Hermann Gmeiner set out to relieve the suffering of orphaned and homeless children in post-war Europe.

Gmeiner’s driving belief was that children couldn’t grow up to become effective citizens without a home to call their own. By the end of that first year, the first SOS Children’s Village was under construction.

Today, SOS Children’s Villages is an international organization active in 133 countries and territories. The primary goal of the organization is to place orphaned and abandoned children into a home with an “SOS mother” and to group these homes together to form a village community. The children are provided with strong support systems that enable the children to grow up following their own cultural traditions. SOS Children’s Villages helps ensure that children get the education and health care that they need to flourish.

In 2009, there were 500 SOS Children’s Villages worldwide, serving more than 73,000 children. The organization also supports over one million more disadvantaged children with a range of social programs and youth facilities. In 2010, SOS Children’s Villages International responded to the destructive earthquake in Haiti by providing temporary homes for more than 500 children. Thousands more received help through the agency’s emergency nutrition program.

SOS Children’s Village supporters include a number of celebrities as well as world figures like Nelson Mandela, Sarah, the Duchess of York, the Dalai Lama and Princess Saliva Aga Khan. Singer and songwriter Johnny Cash’s memorial fund also supports the organization.

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