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Published on: Sept. 11, 2022, 6:56 p.m.
SOS Children’s Villages: Transforming lives
  • The organisation creates safe and nurturing spaces for children

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

Established in 1964, SOS Children’s Villages of India, is a part of SOS Children’s Villages (an Austria-headquartered international NGO), founded by the philanthropist Hermann Gmeiner in 1949. It was prompted by a realisation that the World War had left many children orphaned and neglected; so, it endeavoured to provide children who have not got parental care (or are at the risk of losing it) a value chain of quality care services that goes beyond childcare alone, ensuring comprehensive child development.

The customised care interventions such as: Family Like Care, Family Strengthening, Kinship Care, Short Stay Homes, Foster Care, Youth Skilling, Emergency Childcare and Special Needs Childcare are aimed at transforming lives and enabling children under care into self-reliant and contributing members of society.

The organisation empowers vulnerable families in communities to become financially independent, thereby enabling them to create safe and nurturing spaces for children under their care. Today, over 6,500 children live in more than 440 family homes, inside 32 SOS Children’s Villages of India, in 22 states/ UTs, from Srinagar to Kochi and Bhuj to Shillong. They are lovingly cared for and nurtured by over 600 SOS Mothers and Aunts. As India’s largest self-implementing childcare NGO, SOS Children’s Villages India directly touches the lives of about 30,000 children every year.

Apart from the 32 children’s villages across the country, SOS also has two Hermann Gmeiner Schools in Faridabad (including one in Anangpur, Faridabad) and a total of eight across the country. There are two vocational training centres too -- one at Rajpura, Patiala, and the other, in Nizamuddin, New Delhi. There is a nursing school in Anangpur and a B.Ed College in Bhimtal, Nainital, which offer vocational training programmes. 

Empowering vulnerable families

“For over five decades, we have been providing children who have not got parental care (or are at the risk of losing it), a value chain of quality care services that goes beyond childcare alone, to ensuring comprehensive child development,”, says Sumanta Kar, secretary general, SOS Children’s Villages of India. “Our long-term customised care interventions are aimed at transforming lives and making children into self-reliant and contributing members of society. We empower vulnerable families in communities to become financially independent, thereby enabling them to create safe and nurturing spaces for children under their care”.

Apart from overseas donations and small government aid, SOS India also boasts of having a big list of corporate partners, such as Blue Dart Express, Canon India, Citibank, Exim Bank, United India Insurance, Lubrizol India, Nikon India, ICICI Prudential Life, Hero Motocorp, HDFC Life, Mahanagar Gas, SBI Cards, DHL Logistics and many others, which help it fund its various programmes.

During the recent pandemic, the teams at SOS Children’s Villages of India responded to this destabilising and grim situation across the country with a renewed commitment for advancing vulnerable children and their well-being through SOS’s comprehensive Basket of Care Solutions. “To uphold children’s health, safety, and learning outcomes, we enhanced our digital capabilities,” adds Kar. “Using this methodology, we were able to seamlessly transition to online teaching-learning and provide children with uninterrupted access to education. We launched the Emo-Aid programme to support our mothers, children, and young people, under our care by focussing on their mental and emotional wellbeing”.

  • Our long-term customised care interventions are aimed at transforming lives and making children into self-reliant and contributing members of society

Of the many customised interventions, SOS India’s Family Like Care Programme is an innovative and individualised care model for children who have lost their families, providing them an opportunity to grow with love, respect and security, within an SOS Family Home. Over 6,500 children are today growing up in over 440 SOS families, even as over 7,600 youth have graduated since inception of the programme.

SOS also enables specially-abled children without parental care to lead a normal life, through a uniquely designed Children’s Village, at Khajuri Kalan, Bhopal, which is equipped with infrastructure for medical care and training. Some 104 children and youth with special abilities live and grow in a loving home, which is watched over by trained Mothers and support staff. 

SOS’s Short Stay Homes serve as homes of hope for children, who require a short-term, safe and secure abode, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. These children are affected by calamities or disasters, such as the ongoing pandemic, so that their parents or caregivers are not able to take care of them. Through this programme, it provides child care spaces alongside ad hoc or permanent infrastructure to secure care to those affected.

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