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About SOS Children

Do you agree that every child should belong to a family and grow up with love, respect and security?

A boy running towards the camera outside in the Villages, with other children in the background
Playtime at an SOS Children's Village in Guinea-Bissau

For over 60 years, we have been working to achieve this around the world:

  • We prevent children from ending up alone by supporting families to stay together.
  • If a child can no longer live with their family, we provide long-term family care in an SOS Children's Village. 
  • We provide quality education and healthcare in these communities.

We give orphaned and abandoned children a loving home

Children in our care live in a unique community called an SOS Children's Village. Here, they are cared for by a committed SOS mother and live with other children as an SOS family. We know each child by name, and support their individual needs until they are independent adults.

World map of SOS Villages

In 125 countries, we provide long-term care for almost 62,000 children in 547 SOS Children's Villages. Or as one of our volunteers likes to say, “We tuck 62,000 children into bed each night!” Find out where we work.

We provide quality education and healthcare

Each child that lives in an SOS Children's Village receives quality education and healthcare. When we build an SOS Nursery, an SOS School, or an SOS Medical Centre, we open the doors to the local community. Globally, over 130,000 children attend SOS Nurseries and Schools.

We strengthen communities

SOS family sitting on the steps outside their family home, surrounded by greenery
We provide orphaned children with loving family homes in
SOS Children's Villages, like this one in Cochin, India.

Through our community outreach programmes, we help families care for their children. Our priority is that children stay with their biological or extended family, and our local partners work to make this possible via tailored services. 

We support for families at times of emergency

Our established local networks mean we're well placed to help children and families during emergencies. Currently we're providing vital humanitarian aid to families affected by the Syrian civil war, and by Ebola in West Africa.

Our supporters give vulnerable child hope through child sponsorship

If you agree that every child should grow up in a loving family home, including those who have lost their parents, the best way to help is to sponsor a child or sponsor a Children's Village

You can sponsor in most of the countries where we work, and will see your sponsored child growing up through the regular updates you receive. 100% of your sponsorship will be used for the care of children, so you know that every penny makes a difference to a child's life

Our approach

“The splendid work done by SOS Children is charity where deeds speak louder than words”
—The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama stands with hands clasped above his head

We were founded in 1949 to give long-term care to children who had lost their homes or families in the Second World War. We continue this work worldwide, and as a non-denominational and apolitical charity we always respect the religions and cultures of the local community.

Orphaned and abandoned children require long-term, dedicated support. This means we have to work with central and local governments, who generally have legal responsibility for them. As such, we co-operate with all governments. This method has allowed us to continue to help vulnerable children in places like Zimbabwe where other organisations have had to leave.

We uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and work to defend these rights around the world. In 2009, we worked with the UN to develop Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

We are a charity which creates nurturing families, not headlines. We invest in communities, not in media presence. This way, we keep our admin costs low while delivering the best support to children at risk.

A short presentation about our charity

If you're eager to get to the heart of SOS Children, and curious about what we do and why, then have a look at this short presentation. We hope that by the end of it, our work will feel personal to you. To start the presentation, click on the play button in the bottom left-hand corner. If you would like to move the slides at your own pace, use the arrows.

SOS Children and you

Front cover of SOS Children and you bookletYou can download this short introduction to the work of SOS Children (pdf), which encapsulates the many ways we support families and children in need and how you can help. 

To open, click on the image on the right.

SOS Children's Villages UK

SOS Children's Villages UK is the UK centre for the work of SOS Children's Villages, an international non-governmental development organisation. We are a registered charity (number 1069204), and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England (number 3346676).

Registered address: SOS Children's Villages UK, Terrington House, 13-15 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1NL

Patron: Countess Mountbatten of Burma CBE, MSE, CD, JP, DL

President: Dame Mary Richardson

Chief Executive: Simon Etherington OBE.

Trustees: Mary Cockcroft (Chairman), Earl of St Andrews, Michael Brewer, Graham Budd, Michael Riding, Ayesha Khan, Matthew de Villiers, and Thomas Bauer.

We would love to hear from you!

We are happy to talk to anyone about our work or how you might be able to help. Click here for our contact details.

Alternatively, explore our frequently asked questions to learn more about SOS Children.

If you're looking for ways to help orphaned and abandoned children around the world, have you thought about sponsoring a child with us?

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Did you know? Our charity cares for over 70,000 children worldwide in around 125 countries.