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Update from our CEO

Simon Etherington, CEO, with an SOS child, Chipata, Zambia
Simon e-learning in Chipata

Dear Supporters,

So much has happened since I wrote to you last Spring – across the globe, in the UK and within SOS Children’s Villages UK.


I was fortunate enough to pay my first trip to our Village at Chipata in Zambia, where I had the opportunity of seeing once again the amazing care SOS Children’s Villages gives to the most vulnerable of children. The love and devotion shown by our SOS mothers and staff to these youngsters is truly inspirational. Please do read the article where two of our supporters talk about their own visits to Chipata.

My trip showed me that we can’t rest on our laurels though. There’s still much more we can do to help improve the lives of the children in Zambia, and I have returned with a number of fundraising needs for Chipata which we will share with you in the near future.

Annual Supporters’ Meeting

I’d like to thank all those who came to our Annual Supporters’ Meeting in Cambridge on the 5th September. We were particularly delighted to have Shree Shankar Pradhananga, the SOS National Director of Nepal, address this event and to hear first-hand about the work he and his team are conducting in the aftermath of the earthquake. Please find an overview of Shankar’s update in this article.

I was also really glad to hear the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our supporters about what we’re doing to help children and how we go about that. With your endorsement, we shall continue to be alive to your views and make further improvements.

Refugee crisis

Refugee children in Macedonia
Children at refugee site Tabanovce, Macedonia
The need to help more children is an ongoing one and has recently been brought into sharp focus by the refugee crisis in Europe. As you know, the conflict in Syria is now in its fifth year. Millions of families are realising a return to peace is a distant prospect and this is causing a huge wave of new migration. Africans also constitute a large number of the migrants and their continent remains a priority area for SOS Children’s Villages.

Our challenge is to produce a response tailored to the different circumstances of the various destination countries whilst continuing our work in the countries of origin. As you can imagine, the needs of SOS Greece are different from those of SOS Hungary for example, or SOS Austria. As a consequence, we have decided to establish a generic fund for donations which will be used to direct money where and when it is required. Please see our refugee crisis appeal page for more details about the SOS programmes being set up across Europe and the Middle East and how you can help.

Striving to do more for the child at risk

Judging from feedback at our ASM and elsewhere, I also sense a growing desire – most recently prompted by the refugee crisis – for the need to help children here in the UK. It is too early to decide what form such help might take (as we will be beginning from a standing start), and whatever we decide upon will need to have been carefully researched and thought through. One thing is clear, we will need adequate resources (in terms of finance and influence, to name but two) if we are to succeed.

As our Chair of Trustees has pointed out in her letter to you, this is one of the reasons why we must ensure that all the work we do is underpinned by solid financial reserves.

Thank you for your continuing support and the trust you place in us that we will use your donations wisely, in order to help as many vulnerable children as possible.

Simon Etherington OBE