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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 toddlers

Children on the brink of starvation


Abai and his little sister, Bekele, were born to a poor family in West Hararge, eastern Ethiopia.

Abai (pictured centre) enjoys playing with his SOS brothers and sisters

Successive droughts and lack of employment in this area forced the family to move a number of times.

The family thought their fortunes had finally changed when they found a valuable elephant tusk. Tragically, thieves killed their father for the ivory. The children’s partially sighted mother struggled on as long as she could. But after losing her sight completely, all she could do was beg. Her children began to starve.

As soon as SOS Children’s Villages became aware of their plight, the children’s mother was referred to hospital. Her two surviving youngsters, Abai and Bekele, were taken to the SOS Village at Jimma, where they were given intensive medical and nutritional support.

Abai now attends nursery and enjoys playing with his SOS brothers and sisters (as you can see from the photo above, where Abai sits smiling in the centre). Thanks to the support of SOS donors like you, Abai and his little sister will never again face the prospect of insecurity and starvation.

Care and love


Jakov Kristijan are twin brothers from the SOS Children's Village in Ladimirevci in Croatia

Twin brothers, Jakov and Kristijan arrived at the SOS Children’s Village Ladimirevci in Croatia when they were 18 months old.

The two boys were quite ill and often cried. Their SOS mother spent a lot of time giving them as much love as she could. She also took them to doctor’s appointments, which diagnosed both boys as suffering from epilepsy.

For the next year, Jakov, Kristijan and their SOS mother travelled more than 60 miles twice a week to attend sessions at a rehabilitation centre, where experts worked with the boys. Their SOS mother also received training for carrying out exercises to help their physical development.

A year later and the twins have shown great progress. They can pronounce simple words like ‘mama’ and ‘yo-yo’. And they are able to feed themselves as they sit next to each other in their high chairs at mealtimes. Both adore mashed potatoes with gravy and roast chicken – and of course, chocolate for pudding. The twins take regular medicine and still need to go to the rehabilitation centre for check-ups. Apart from that, Jakov and Kristijan are cheerful outgoing little boys leading a normal happy life thanks to their SOS mother and our wonderful supporters.

Able to sponsor again?

It costs just 75p a day to give youngsters like Jakov and Kristijan a loving home. If you would like to sponsor another child, we have children in Croatia who need sponsors. Find out more now.

Alternatively, you can learn more about child sponsorship. If you'd rather speak to someone, call us on 01223 365 589 or email .