SOS family strengthening programmes aim to prevent child abandonment. The programme provides support to families to become self-sufficient and build safe environments for their children to grow up in. It also equips young people with the skills to lead happy, independent adult lives.
Empowering the next generation
When Deolinda lost her father in 2011, her mother struggled to care for her and her three siblings, as well as a niece living with them. Her mother ran a small business and washed neighbours clothes on the side. However, her income barely feed six people.
The following year, the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Ibadan, Nigeria, began supporting Deolinda’s family. Her mother received a micro-finance loan to expand her business. This allowed her to create a positive and healthy environment for her children to grow up in.
Deolinda joined the Young Life Savers Club, a group affiliated with the Family Strengthening Programme that educates young people about sexual and reproductive health rights. She became a peer educator, teaching other young people about the dangers of pre-marital sex, STDs and STIs, contraception and other health related issues.
The Family Strengthening Programme provided Deolinda with a scholarship to pursue a course in computer science. Now, she is studying business administration at the Federal School of Statistics.
Grandma Elizabeth is leading by example
Elizabeth is the primary caretaker of her three grandchildren. When her daughter passed away, her son-in-law left his children in Elizabeth’s care while he went to inform his family of his wife’s death. He never returned.
Elizabeth had no job. She relied on her late daughter’s income for support. Left with three children, their resources dried up quickly. Their deteriorating financial situation forced two of the children – Alex, 18, and Jenny, 16 – to drop out of school. The family depended on church contributions such as food, clothing and shelter. However, the church contributions did not cover the educational and health needs of the family. Elizabeth is the primary caretaker of her three grandchildren. When her daughter passed away, her son-in-law left his children in Elizabeth’s care while he went to inform his family of his wife’s death. He never returned.
A beacon of hope
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Lagos, Nigeria, intervened and began supporting Elizabeth and her three grandchildren. SOS Children ensured that Alex and Jenny, were re-enrolled in school. The programme took care of their school fees, and provided them clothes and school materials. After Jenny completed secondary school, she received a scholarship at the SOS Vocational Training Centre where she studied catering.
“The different ways in which my family and I were assisted in building and strengthening our capacity were crucial in helping to provide for my grandchildren,” says Elizabeth.
The Family Strengthening Programme provided Elizabeth with financial assistance, which allowed her to start her own business. Elizabeth learned the skills to become an entrepreneur, and was introduced to a savings and loan group to help her to increase her income. Today, she leads the group and manages their poultry and fish farming business.
“The SOS Family Strengthening Programme allowed me to turn my life around and provide a stable home for my grandchildren to grow up in,” says Elizabeth. “I am still in the programme, but we’re nearly independent thanks to SOS Children.”
We operate almost 500 family strengthening programmes across the world. Discover how we reach out to families in the surrounding community of our Villages.