Suncheon is a city in the southern part of South Korea. With a population of about 250,000, it is a scenic city with strong agriculture and industry sectors.
4km away from the city centre is SOS Children's Village Suncheon. After opening in 1982, it is now home to nearly 100 children who have lost parental care.
Children and the legacy of war
South Korea was the first country in Asia where SOS Children began working. After the Korean war, thousands of children were left orphaned and abandoned. The conflict lasted three years and ended in 1953. Ten years later, the country remained devastated and many children were still alone, while families struggled to provide for their children. Hermann Gmeiner visited the country in 1963, and two years later opened the first Children's Village in Asia, in Daegu.
As the years passed by, the needs of children in the country changed as it recovered from the war. Gradually, there were less refugees in need of care, and more children who had been orphaned or abandoned due to poverty. Today, children enter our care for a range of reasons, but are given the same loving care and support in their SOS family.
How we help in Suncheon
There are 10 SOS family houses at our Village in Suncheon. Inside each one are a group of children who have arrived at the Village after being orphaned or abandoned. In their new home they are cared for by a loving SOS mother and live with their natural and SOS siblings. there is also a community house in the Village, for collective activities and where the children celebrate events.
So that children are intellectually stimulated from an early age, a library was built in the Village in 1994. A small gym and a traditional Korean communal bath have also been added. Older children who are ready to take their first steps towards independence can move into one of the six SOS youth apartments. Here they are helped to complete vocational training of higher education, which prepare them for their futures.
Support for local families
As well as providing care for children with no-one else, we also help local families who are at risk of falling apart. From our Social Centre in Suncheon, which opened in 2004, we run a day-care centre for young children. Working parents are happy to leave their children in a safe place while they go out to make a living.
The SOS Social Centre also provides therapy and psychological care, as well as tuition classes and educational programmes (such as computer classes or Chinese) for children and young people. By bolstering their mental resilience and learning new skills, young people are prepared for a bright future.
All our programmes in South Korea are funded by people living in the country. If you would like to help our work across the Asian continent, have you considered sponsoring a child?