Where we work
We work wherever children need a secure and loving home.
Today, there are an estimated 150 million children worldwide who have lost one or both parents, with at least 13 million of these children having lost both parents. SOS Children’s Villages supports vulnerable children, as well as fragmented families, in 125 countries across five continents.
When a child loses everything, SOS Children’s Villages is there to give them a home, a mother and a family. We provide homes where children grow up from infancy to adulthood. Homes with an SOS mother and siblings – this is what makes SOS Children’s Villages unique.
SOS operates in 125 countries across the world, click the arrow to view them all.
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
What does it mean to be an SOS mum?
SOS mothers are the dedicated women who care day to day for children living in SOS Children’s Villages. They are at the centre of our work and a key part of what makes our charity unique.
An SOS mother is always a member of the local community who received years of educational training and whose education continues as they raise their SOS children.
SOS mothers live with their children in a family home, support their individual needs, and celebrate special occasions with them. Many former SOS children keep in touch with their SOS mother once they grow up, showing that the same strong bond exists as between a natural mother and her child. Worldwide there are more than 5,250 SOS mothers.
The best place for a child to grow up is usually with their parents and siblings. Family members often look after children who have lost the care of their parents. But sometimes chronic poverty, war or diseases like HIV/AIDS mean relatives are unable to step in. When children have nobody to care for them, they can live in an SOS Children’s Village.
In these supportive communities, children grow up in families and receive all they need to flourish: care from an SOS mother, and an SOS family with boys and girls of different ages, a family house (in each Village there are about 10-15 houses), a village community, good education at SOS Nurseries and Schools, quality healthcare at SOS Medical Centres and support until they are independent young adults.
There are 563 SOS Children’s Villages around the world, with 37 more under construction. Our SOS Villages are currently home to 6,039 families.
SOS Youth Homes
When young people from our SOS Children’s Villages are old enough to leave their SOS families, many of them move to an SOS youth home with others their own age. Youth homes are often located at the SOS Children’s Village, but some are situated beyond the Village to help youngsters adjust to the outside world.
Young people from SOS families are joined by those from the surrounding community. Youngsters often join aged around 15 or 16, when they are in the final stages of secondary education.
Watch Maya’s story
The SOS youth homes provide young people with education and training, teach key life skills, and help them to mature into well-rounded adults. We begin by teaching them the basics they need to live independently, such as preparing and cooking food, managing finances and maintaining a household.
Youth homes generally work in tandem with SOS vocational training centres, so residents almost always have the opportunity to gain skills training under the guidance of specialist teachers. Often, vocational training centres are open to the community too, giving those from the youth home the chance to mix with young people from the community. The qualifications on offer are tailored to the local job market so that young people are able to find work once they leave the home.
Residents typically leave the youth home aged between 18 and 21, though we support them for longer if they still need our help. Many youngsters go on to achieve incredible success and work to create a better world for others.
"Having driven from Kathmandu to Sano Thimi through the heat and dust, the SOS Children's Village was a positive oasis of peace and calm. I was so impressed by what I saw and how the village benefits the whole community"
SOS Children's Village sponsor
Sano Thimi, Nepal
We stand up for children and help to inform communities and decision makers about children’s rights.
As a leading organisation in the development of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, we are global experts when it comes to safeguarding children without, or at risk of losing, parental care. We also partner with other recognised organisations to promote and protect children’s rights.
SOS Children’s Villages has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on 16 occasions. In 2002, we received the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. Most recently, SOS Children’s Villages won the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord.
It’s only thanks to our supporters that we are able to provide the world’s most vulnerable children with a brighter future.