Frequently Asked Questions

How much of my sponsorship contribution goes to my child or village?
Which children are eligible for admission to an SOS Children...
Who decides whether a child is admitted or not?
How many children does one SOS Children's Village family hav...
According to which educational concept are the children brou...
According to which religion are the children brought up?
What are the criteria for the selection of SOS mothers?
What kind of training do SOS mothers receive?
Why are there no SOS fathers or couples?
Can I adopt a child from an SOS village?
Do you have any international internships/job/volunteer opportunities?
How can I update my credit card information and/or my address?
What are my rights as a donor to SOS Children's Villages?

How much of my sponsorship contribution goes to my child or village?

We are proud of how we put your funds to work! At SOS Children’s Villages we know our donors expect us to use their donations wisely. That’s why we want you to know that 80% of your sponsorship gift directly benefits your sponsored child or village and lets us share progress reports with you and 5% is sent to support programs that are in critical need. 15% of your gift supports the operations of SOS Children’s Villages and program management. 100% of special gifts (gifts you make for a specific occasion in your sponsored child’s life) are deposited into your child’s bank account to be used later in life, or in the case of a special gift to a village, are used for village activities.

Which children are eligible for admission to an SOS Children's Village?

SOS Children's Villages worldwide admit children who have either lost one parent or both or whose parents cannot provide for them any longer for various reasons; most SOS children belong to the latter category.

Who decides whether a child is admitted or not?

The SOS Children's Village association of the respective country defines the criteria of admittance within the scope of the guidelines set up by SOS Children's Villages International and according to the economic and social situation within that country.

The decision whether to admit a child is then made by a committee consisting of the village director, the SOS mother, social workers, and sometimes the national director, in co-operation with the authorities. This committee decides whether a child is physically and mentally fit to be admitted to one of our villages and whether the child is in need of a permanent home.

The child admission process ensures a careful and professional assessment of each child before placement in an SOS Children's Village family. This ensures that children who can most benefit from an SOS Village are admitted.

Priority is as follows:

  1. orphans
  2. children with only one parent
    a) children without mother
    b) children without father
  3. children whose parents cannot provide for them

Siblings have priority in every case.

How many children does one SOS Children's Village family have?

The families in industrialized nations are usually smaller than those in developing countries. A typical SOS Children's Village family in an industrialized country consists of three to six children, while families in developing countries usually have seven to ten children.

Contrary to many state-run children's homes, SOS Children's Villages does not separate siblings. That is why some families may have more children.

According to which educational concept are the children brought up?

There is one general educational concept applied at SOS Children's Village facilities all over the world: the SOS family child care model, with all children receiving education. These goals depend on the child's age when admitted to the Village.

The SOS "four principles" - the SOS mother, the sisters and brothers, the family house and the SOS Children's Village - form the basis and foundation for our work at the SOS Children's Villages. The foremost of these principles is the mother, or mother-centered care.

In addition, the children's upbringing depends upon their cultural and ethnic background, their religion, and the people involved in their education.

According to which religion are the children brought up?

Each child is brought up according to the belief (s)he has taken over from her/his parents. If the parents' faith is not known, the child is brought up according to the religion which is most common in the particular culture. In many SOS Children's Villages, different faiths are represented.

What are the criteria for the selection of SOS mothers?

  • Age: between 24 and 40 years
  • Education: if possible nine years of compulsory education;
    in countries where this standard is not generally attained by women, each SOS Children's Village ensures that future mothers are provided with basic education (literacy) during the special training they receive in preparation for their role as an SOS Mother.
  • Marital status: single, widowed, separated or divorced (in some regions, women must not have children of their own).
  • State of health: in good physical and mental health.
  • Aptitude for this kind of work and for success in life
    (independent, practical, patient, optimistic, willing to learn, self-assured and self-confident, cheerful, good at housekeeping, resilient and able to cope with strain, capable of relating to others well, demonstrating potential for further responsibility).
  • Willingness to deal with difficult children in a loving and supporting way, and assume responsibility; readiness to be there for the children practically around the clock for a long time

What kind of training do SOS mothers receive?

Each SOS Children's Village association has the duty to provide theoretical and practical training for prospective SOS mothers in order to prepare them for their job. The theoretical training program lasts at least three months with subsequent refresher and reflection courses (every other year at the minimum). In European countries, the theoretical training usually lasts one year.

Why are there no SOS fathers or couples?

Since the beginning of SOS Children's Villages, we have never had any bad experiences due to the fact that single women are hired as SOS mothers. These women are willing to make the children and youngsters part of their own lives and be to the person they can relate to most closely over a considerable period of time.

However, some SOS mothers do get married. In this case, the husband is integrated into the SOS Children's Village family so that he can look after the children and youngsters together with his wife. We always try to find an appropriate solution for each individual case.

There is no doubt that married couples can be a perfect alternative to single mothers, especially in terms of long-term care and education of of children and youngsters. The many private foster families are a case in point. Over the past few years, some married couples have taken responsibility for SOS Children's Village families in a number of European countries.

However, with married couples there can also be quite a number of problems, ranging from tensions between their own children and the SOS children to separation or divorce of the couple. Apart from that, it is easier to find unmarried women willing to take responsibility for an SOS Children's Village family.

Can I adopt a child from SOS Children's Villages?

No, we try to promote the development of a lasting relationship between the SOS mother and the children in her care in the SOS Children’s Village. Taking children out of the SOS family would endanger this process and would result in sibling groups being split.

One of the principles of the SOS Children’s Village is that it is a permanent and loving home for a child. Generally when a child enters the village, all other options have been exhausted for that child – meaning that their immediate and extended family members are unable to care for that child and that child is not adoptable. It is an important part of the SOS philosophy that each child finds a permanent family in their SOS Village.

Please download the PDF "Guidelines for The Alternative Care of Children" for more information on SOS Children's Villages' position on adoption.

Do you have any international internships/job/volunteer opportunities?

The children at our facilities grow up in an environment that is in keeping with their own culture. Positions at particular SOS Children's Villages are therefore exclusively allocated by national SOS Children's Villages Associations, which coordinate the work of all the SOS Villages in their countries. The national associations employ people locally, thereby supporting local labor markets.

We guarantee long-term commitment and support for children – our children have suffered greatly and need a long time to trust their new family. Therefore, we do not consider it wise to employ people on a short-term basis at the Villages.

How can I update my credit card information or my address?

You may update your credit card information and/or address by contacting our D.C. office directly and toll-free at 1 (888) SOS-4KIDS (1-888-767-4543).

What rights do I have as a donor to SOS Children's Villages?

SOS Children's Villages respects and adheres to the ethical guidelines set forth by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and follows the donor "Bill of Rights."