Our Work

Educational Programs

Situation Overview

Education opens the door to economic self-sufficiency and empowers young people to become productive, contributing members of their community. Sadly, an estimated 250 million children worldwide cannot read, write or do basic math. Many of them have either never been to or school or have dropped out.

Denied an education, these children are further denied the opportunities an education ultimately makes possible — a path out of poverty, a chance at a brighter future, and the skills to realize their full potential.

THE PROBLEM IN NUMBERS
385million
children live in extreme poverty
250million
children cannot read or write
120million
children and youth don't go to school
71million
young people are unemployed

Our Impact
297thousand
people receive education and job training
656
Number of educational programs SOS operates worldwide

Opportunity to Learn

Every child and young adult supported by SOS Children’s Villages has access to a quality education — in local schools in their community or in SOS schools, which serve children from our SOS Villages and surrounding communities.

Beginning with early childhood and continuing beyond secondary school, SOS guides each young person in our care along a personal path from educational to employability. By enabling access to education and training, and encouraging individual achievement, SOS opens a world of life-changing opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children.

SOS Worldwide

SOS gives children and youth
the opportunity to learn through:

236SOS
Kindergartens
184SOS Schools
178Social Centers
58Vocational Training Centers
Download Fact Sheet

Youth Employment Opening Doors
To Opportunity And Independence

It is estimated that 71 million people under the age of 25 are unemployed worldwide. To address this youth employment crisis, SOS provides young people with the education and training most relevant to their local job market.

SOS also partners with public and private sectors to create opportunities for young people to acquire the practical knowledge and soft skills they need to be successful in the workplace. This includes skills like communication and problem solving, computer literacy, time management, and more.

Learn More: SOS Children's Villages in Action

Case Studies

Empowering Youth To Succeed Through DHL

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In 2011, SOS and Deutsche Post DHL Group, launched a joint youth employability initiative known as GoTeach, which has expanded to 26 countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. GoTeach leverages the expertise of DHL’s global workforce to guide SOS youth in a range of professional development activities that provide job training, career coaching, hands-on experience, and entrepreneurial support to pave the way for a successful transition into the workplace.

Jonathan, an SOS alum from Sao Paolo, Brazil, was one of the first young adults to take part in GoTeach. Over several months, Jonathan participated in training sessions designed to enhance his employability. Through the program he learned how to write a resume, use everyday business software, give presentations in front of an audience, and more.

Today, Jonathan is working for DHL in the shipping department to save money for college, where he hopes to pursue his dream of becoming a physicist.

GoTeach has worked with 7,000 young people to provide them with the tools and skills needed to realize their full potential and succeed in the workplace.

Educating Nurses in India

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Konika lost her father to throat cancer five years ago. Although she is the oldest daughter in the family, she was just a teenager at the time and was unable to care for her dying father.

That's when she decided to become a nurse. Konika, 21, is one of 129 women enrolled at the SOS Nursing School in Faridabad. The school was founded in 1998 and has graduated 632 students since then. The school boasts a 100 percent rate for graduation and job placement, with its graduates working primarily at hospitals and for the government.

“I would like to gain clinical experience and pursue post-graduate work in obstetrics and gynecology,” said Konika, who is in her third and final year of the General Nursing and Midwifery program.

“I would like to work for the Indian government or join a non-governmental organization to provide care and help to the needy people in Indian society.” The SOS Nursing School was founded in part to provide girls at SOS Children’s Village Faridabad with a chance to integrate into Indian society through gainful employment.

The SOS village in Faridabad, one of 32 SOS villages across India, was founded in 1985 and is currently home to 57 children. Of the 632 women who have graduated from the nursing school since it opened, 144 have been women who grew up at the nearby SOS Village. Currently, there are 35 students at the nursing school from the SOS village.

Twenty-two-year-old Padma is one of them.

“Growing up at the SOS Village has played a vital role in shaping my career,” Padma said. “It has given me an opportunity to get certified in General Nursing and Midwifery from an esteemed nursing school.”

Padma says that she visits her SOS mother and SOS brothers and sisters once a month, especially when she is on break from school. “The SOS Village is one of the things I cherish most in my life because I have a family that completes my life,” she said.

“The SOS Nursing School offers a broad-based education that prepares nurses at the basic and advanced levels to be able to function in a wide variety of healthcare settings,” said Janet Chaudhary, the principal of the school. “A nursing education increases a woman’s confidence and her ability to deal with problems in her life, with her family, her society and her nation,” she added.

Ms. Chaudhary says that she considers nursing to be the “noblest of all professions” and a “rewarding career.” She says that the younger generation of nurses is seeking employment outside India or with the government. Others find jobs at hospitals, nursing homes, research facilities and schools.

“My memorable moments at the SOS Nursing School revolve around seeing my students succeed and feeling that I played a part in their success,” Ms. Chaudhary said. “Each time a student becomes a key figure in nursing leadership, I take pride in the fact that I was part of that success.”

Access to Education in Cambodia

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Huot Limchheang is standout student in her fifth-grade class. Her favorite subject is math and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

None of her dreams would be possible, however, if Limchheang hadn’t received a scholarship.

In Cambodia, where Limchheang lives, costs associated with public education — such as uniforms, books, tuition, and fees for private tutors — make it very difficult for poor families to send their children to school.

Limchheang’s father works as a primary school teacher and makes very little money. Her mother pitches in by driving a taxi. Even with both of their salaries, they still can’t afford to send Limchheang or her two sisters to school. The three sisters — in addition to 105 other children from poor families — receive scholarships from SOS Children’s Villages to study at the SOS school in Battambang, a city in northwest Cambodia.

About 122,000 children study at one of 405 SOS schools around the world. The SOS school where Limchheang and her sisters study in Battambang opened in 2009 and enrolls about 460 students. SOS also runs a kindergarten in Battambang that enrolls 110 children.

"Attending school is very important for everyone because in school the teachers provide me with knowledge and experiences that make it a lot easier to find a job and have a better future," Limchheang said recently.

When she’s not studying for school, Limchheang helps her mother water the vegetables in the garden and feed the chickens.

Asked about her future, 11-year-old Limchheang had this to say:

"In the future I want to be a teacher because a teacher can help educate people and develop the country. I thank SOS Children’s Villages for helping me and other children attend school like other students. If I hadn’t gotten the scholarship from SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Battambang, I might be an uneducated person in society and can’t help the children of the next generation at all."

Innovation and Success Abound at SOS Vocational School in Ethiopia

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SOS Children's Villages cares about the well-being of children from the moment they enter care, and maintains a vision of long-term support until they become self-sustaining adults. One of the many ways we seek to support young people in their transition to adulthood is by providing post-secondary and technical education that will lead to employment.

The SOS Vocational Training College near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia focuses on professional automotive repair, woodworking and metalworking. Students graduating from the college are in high demand; the school boasts a 100 percent post-graduation placement rate.

SOS children as well as young people from nearby communities are enrolled at the college (40 local youth receive a scholarship to attend). Over the years, students have produced numerous innovations. Recently, they created an award-winning water heater for use in medical centers and schools that do not have access to electricity.

The college has also been a valuable resource for SOS Children's Villages and its facilities in Ethiopia. Furniture designed and built by students from the college was used in our newest Ethiopian village, and automotive repairs of all SOS vehicles in the area will be done at the college.

Our organization exists to give the world's children a family that surrounds them with love, respect, and security so they can thrive and grow into mature, capable adults. To see our core mission come to life here in Africa inspires absolute confidence that our work, thanks to your support, is truly brightening the future.

"Before GoTeach, I was very shy; today I can communicate with anyone. I would like to thank the DHL volunteers for that, as it was an important step for me."

Jonathan, 17 SOS alum and GoTeach participant

"In the future I want to be a teacher because a teacher can help educate people and develop the country. I thank SOS Children’s Villages for helping me and other children attend school like other students. If I hadn’t gotten the scholarship from SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Battambang, I might be an uneducated person in society and can’t help the children of the next generation at all."

Limchheang, 11 Student at the SOS School in Battambang, Cambodia

Download The Fact Sheet

Download our informational fact sheet to learn more about SOS Children's Villages educational programs around the world.

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