Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers about SOS and sponsorship

SOS Children's Villages


What does SOS Children’s Villages do?
We build families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 135 countries, including the United States. We are the largest non-governmental organization dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children.

Founded in 1949, we provide children with the love and long-term support they need to shape their own futures. Through our family support and care programs, medical centers, schools and emergency relief efforts we impact the lives of millions of children and families.

Each child grows up in a loving SOS family headed by an SOS Mother, a trained caregiver who raises each child with individual care and attention. SOS Children’s Villages believes strongly in keeping biological siblings together in the same home along with their SOS brothers and sisters.
Who founded SOS Children's Villages?
Hermann Gmeiner, a native Austrian, founded the first SOS Children's Villages association in Austria in 1949, following the Second World War. His aim was to provide orphaned and abandoned children with a loving family, home and community in which to grow. The first SOS Children's Village was built in Imst in the Austrian province of Tyrol the same year. The very first house in the village was named 'House of Peace'.
What does “SOS” stand for?
Before it was called SOS Children's Villages, Hermann Gmeiner's Societas Socialis was a social club organized to raise funds for the care of orphaned children in Austria.

To Gmeiner and his supporters, SOS meant socially responsible society. Gmeiner believed that every child deserves a family, a home and a supportive community environment.  Officially founded in 1949, Hermann Gmeiner refined the name to SOS Children's Villages to emphasize the call for attention to children in need worldwide.
Do you have any international internships or job/volunteer opportunities?
The children at our SOS Villages grow up in an environment that is consistent with their own culture. Our programs employ people locally, thereby supporting the local markets and furthering the children's connection to their own culture.

We guarantee long-term commitment and support for children. Children under our care 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 SOS Villages.
How can I volunteer at SOS Children’s Villages – USA?
Volunteers for SOS–USA educate, advocate and fundraise for the organization for our Washington, D.C. office. To learn more please visit our website at
How do I apply for employment at SOS Children’s Villages  – USA?
We are delighted that you are interested in helping children and families in need through SOS Children’s Villages. At this time, interns and job applicants alike must submit a resume through the careers section of our website. Please visit our website at to learn more about available opportunities.

About SOS Sponsorships


What impact do I have as a sponsor?
As a sponsor, you provide the critical essentials for a child—food, clothing, shelter and medical care. However, your gift does so much more—ensuring that a child grows up in a family surrounded by a loving parent and siblings.

Children living with our SOS Families benefit from the nearly seven decades of our expertise caring for at risk children, including trauma support for children coming from difficult circumstances. Your sponsored child also receives a quality education and tailored development plan so he or she can reach his/her full potential.

Your sponsorship gift also strengthens the greater community. We have devoted decades to building lasting relationships with children, families and communities around the world. SOS schools and medical clinics service children in SOS Families as well as children and families in the area. Vocational programs teach children from SOS Families and the surrounding community job skills so they can earn an income and support themselves.

Because building a stable loving home is more than just providing the basics, multiple sponsors can support each child. In addition to ensuring financial stability, your child's life will be enriched by knowing that a number of friends worldwide care for them.
How much does child sponsorship cost?
Child sponsorship starts at $35 a month ($420 annually), or about a dollar a day.
How is my sponsorship contribution used?
We are proud to share that 80% of your contribution benefits our work with children. The remaining 20% is used for operational support and outreach. 
Why do children live at an SOS Children’s Village? 
We believe that every child deserves a loving home. When children have been abandoned or orphaned with no family to provide for them, or are lacking the shelter, education, food, and the care they deserve, we give them a safe home, together with their siblings, where they can grow up in one of our SOS families.
Why should I sponsor with SOS Children’s Villages?
When you become a sponsor with SOS Children’s Villages you will know that your funds are being put to work to directly impact the child you are supporting. SOS Children’s Villages has been helping children since 1949 and providing a care model that has been proven to work. As a recipient of the Mother Teresa Gold Medal and a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee,SOS Children’s Villages is an organization you can trust.
As a child sponsor, what do I receive?
As an SOS Child Sponsor, you help provide a child in need with the love and long-term support they deserve to help shape their own futures. After registering to sponsor you will receive a welcome packet containing a description and a photo of your sponsored child, including information about the community your sponsored child lives in. Your welcome packet will also include a mailing address for you to send letters to your sponsored child. Twice a year you will receive updates, including photos, to see how your sponsored child is growing academically and socially. In addition, annually we will send you a birthday card that you may personalize and send to your sponsored child for their birthday. We will also keep you updated on the work SOS Children’s Villages does around the world through our newsletters.
What is an SOS Mother or SOS Parent?
As a sponsor, you make sure that a child who has lost their family doesn’t lose everything. Orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children will grow up in one of our SOS families with an SOS Mother or SOS Parent and sisters and brothers—with every effort made to keep biological siblings together. Each home is headed by a trained caregiver, an SOS Parent, who has been provided with two years of prior training in an SOS home to get to know the children, the programs, and how to care for a child before heading their own SOS home. Each SOS Parent raises each child with the individual care and attention they need. As a family, they build emotional ties together that last a lifetime.
Can I sponsor a child with a specific religious identity?
The religious identity of children in our care is personal and private information that is not provided to SOS Sponsors.
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. One of the principles of the SOS Children’s Village is that it is a permanent and loving home for a child. It is an important part of the SOS philosophy that each child finds a permanent family in their SOS Village. 

I have questions about sponsorship...

Check out the My Sponsorship page or click below for common questions about sponsorship.

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