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Europe

SOS Children's Villages has been working hard to improve the lot of orphaned children in Eastern Europe since the Seventies although it was only in the eighties that our first Village offered Family based care in the Czech Republic. Since then a large number have spread across Eastern Europe offering hope for... … more about our charity work in Europe

The seven ages of SOS children: SOS adults

Family of their own

Bulgaria

Newlyweds Veselka and Kosta both grew up at the Children's Village in Trjavna, Bulgaria. Here they are with their children.Veselka and Kosta both grew up in the SOS Children's Village at Trjavna.

Kosta arrived as a wild four-year-old. Today, he is a responsible young man who works in the construction industry. Marchela, Kosta's SOS mother says: “The emotional bond with children is very strong. It is what leads us to overcome all problems although it can get tough. But the relationship built between me and the kids lasts forever.”

Kosta is newly married to Veselka and the SOS couple have a baby boy of their own.

Veselka says: “I learned what a family is in SOS. Now I can raise my own child in the way I was brought up here, just like my SOS mother cared for me, loved me and was so patient with me!”

Rags to riches

Pakistan

Afzal grew up at the Children's Village in Lahore. Here he is with his family.As a tale of rags to riches, the story of Mohammed Afzal could have been penned by Charles Dickens.

Afzal and his younger brother were separated from their natural family when fleeing the war which created Bangladesh. Found alone in a refugee camp, the boys were taken to Karachi, where they spent years in the city’s slums rummaging through refuse heaps for scraps and rags to sell.

In 1980, they were found and taken to the SOS Children’s Village in Lahore. Street children aren’t always able to adjust to a regulated life. However, 11-year-old Afzal instantly loved his new home. He enjoyed sports and cycling, and proved himself a talented artist and actor.

As a young man, Afzal joined the Ajoka theatre group. On a tour to Hong Kong, he decided to stay and built a computer export business.

But Afzal never forgot his SOS home. Now a father (in the photo he’s with his wife and children) and successful businessman, he believes every orphaned or abandoned child should have the love and security he was given. That’s why Afzal has become an SOS supporter himself and paid for a new family house in Lahore. For this boy who needed a home, SOS Children’s Village will always be his “beautiful paradise”.

When we see Afzal smiling with his own family, we see the power of child sponsorship to shape lives. Children around the world need people like you to give them their own “beautiful paradise”. Find out how you can change a young life today.

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