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About SOS Children

We believe that every child should belong to a family and grow up with love, respect and security.

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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 support vulnerable children, families and their communities to flourish in several ways:

  • We prevent children from ending up alone or abandoned by supporting families in need.
  • 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.

Orphaned and abandoned children welcomed into a loving home

Children in our care live in a unique community called an SOS Children's Village. Here, they grow up in a loving family home, and are cared for by a committed SOS mother. There are several SOS families in a Children's Village. We know each child by name, and support their individual needs until they are independent adults.

World map of SOS villages

In 134 countries, we provide long-term care for almost 62,000 children in 547 SOS Children's Villages. Find out where we work.

Quality education and healthcare

Each child that lives in an SOS Children's Village receives quality education and healthcare. When we build facilities such as an SOS Nursery for young children, an SOS School, or an SOS Medical Centre, we welcome the local community to use them too. Globally, over 130,000 children attend SOS Nurseries and Schools.

Communities strengthened

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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 for families. 

Emergency support for families

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 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the Syrian civil war.

Give a vulnerable child hope by becoming a sponsor

If you agree that every child should grow up in a loving family home, 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 will 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

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. We uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and work to defend these rights around the world.

Orphaned and abandoned children require long-term, dedicated support. This requires working with local authorities and 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 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

An introduction to the work of SOS ChildrenYou 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 is the UK centre for the work of SOS Children’s Villages, an international, non-governmental development organisation. Our registered charity number is 1069204.

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.