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A global family built with love: A photo essay

We provide loving families to over 86,000 children and young people worldwide
We provide loving families to over 86,000 children and young people worldwide

At SOS Children's Villages, we are committed to the welfare of children and strengthening families and communities as a preventative measure to fight against abandonment and neglect. In honour of International Day of Families, we are showcasing photographs of our work building and empowering families around the world. Thanks to our SOS mothers, supporters, and staff members we operate over 570 SOS Villages that provide loving families to vulnerable children in need.

SOS mother holds child up in the air - for photo essay

Did you know that there were 18.6 million families in the UK in 2014? Family is important to everyone, so why should any child have to grow up alone? 

The United Nations established International Day of Families in 1994 to address the importance of families, people and societies around the world. This year's theme focuses on families, healthy lives and a sustainable future. 

Children stroll in front of an SOS Village

SOS Children's Villages is the world’s largest family with over 573 Villages around the world that provide loving homes to over 86,000 children and young people. Since 1949, we have been creating loving homes for orphaned and abandoned children, and empowering existing families to prevent family breakdown.

Rifat 16, was able to reconnect with his family thanks to the SOS ICT centre in Serbia

We are helping refugee family members reconnect with each other in Serbia. We have set up an ICT centre at a refugee centre where individuals can access the internet to messages loved ones. Rifat, 16, is one of the Syrian refugees who has to be able to connect with his siblings in Germany. 

In Niger, a mother stands in front of her home with her children

In Niger, we have provided this parental guardian with everyday essential items such as rice, cooking oil and malaria medication for her children. According to the 2016 World Family Map, extended family members caring for young relatives are most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Asia and Central and South America.

We operate community outreach programmes in many of the areas that we operate SOS Villages. Our main outreach programme is called the Family Strengthening Programme, which works with local vulnerable families who are struggling to care for their children. We work with these families for several years until they are self- sufficient and able to provide a secure environment for their children or young relatives to grow up in. 

A group of women discuss their lessons learned at a Mobile for Development focus group in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, we are educating mothers about child protection issues with the use of mobile phones. Mobile for Development began as a pilot project in 2013 to help women use positive communication and learn parenting skills. The use of technology is mobilising over 100 disadvantaged mothers to help raise their children in a family-friendly environment. 

SOS mother, Sonia, joined our 	Bangui Village in the Central African Republic in 1995

Sonia, 52, joined our Bangui Village in the Central African Republic in 1995. She is still an SOS mother today and is raising 10 orphaned and abandoned children. Since she joined our family, Sonia has raised over 50 children with love. 

The SOS model is unique. Orphaned and abandoned children grow up at our Villages in family homes that are headed by an SOS mother. The SOS mother builds a close relationship with every child entrusted to her and provides security, love and respect. We also build schools and medical centres for the children living at our Villages and for the wider community.

Please join our SOS family and help a vulnerable child receive the love and security of an SOS mother. Donate today.