Over Sixty Years of Charity for Children
In 1949, Hermann Gmeiner laid the foundations for the first SOS Children’s Villages in Imst, Austria where forty Austrian children in need would find homes after the desolation of World War II. Just a few years later, SOS Villages had been created in Germany, France, and Italy, for children who had been orphaned or abandoned.
Hermann Gmeiner, SOS Children's Villages Founder, and kids at an SOS Village in Chile.
The mission Hermann Gmeiner envisioned was simple, but life changing: to provide children in need with a mother, a home, brothers and sisters, and a supportive community to grow up in. Mr. Gmeiner’s idea proved to be a sustainable model for a children's charity - unlike the institutions that were the standard of the time - and by the early sixties, the Austrian model had expanded to Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
“Nothing in the world is more important than to care for a child.”
– Hermann Gmeiner, Founder of SOS Children’s Villages.
An International Charity for Children in Need
The spread of SOS Children’s Villages was rapid, as the unique idea caught fire amongst sponsors, social workers, and government officials. It was clear to all that SOS model worked, and publicity from the opening of each new Village spurred the creation of more and more SOS Children's Villages.
Soon, SOS Children’s Villages was branching out into local communities, creating family strengthening programs that cultivated safe, loving environments for families to prevent child abandonment. Medical centers, schools, emergency relief programs, and social centers also came to life as SOS began to help not only orphaned and abandoned children, but all children and families in need of charity.
SOS Children’s Villages Today
Today SOS Children’s Villages cares for over 86,000 orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 134 countries.
Of all the children's charities, ours stands out due to our mission of building families for children in need, while helping them to shape their own futures and sharing in the development of their communities. Our vision for the world’s children is that every child should belong to a family and grow with love, respect and security.
These tenets of our organization, developed by Hermann Gmeiner over sixty years ago, continue to define who we are and how we approach quality care and charity for children in need.
Kids playing in an SOS Village in India.
SOS Children’s Villages creates stable, loving families for orphaned and abandoned children. We provide mothers who give individual attention and guidance to each child until they become an independent adult. We are raising more than 86,000 children in over 570 villages across 134 countries, including the United States. Through our outreach programs we make an impact on the lives of over 1 million people each year.
Become a part of the SOS Family by making a monthly gift to support orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in need every day and invest in a healthier and independent next generation.