75 Years of Impact publication to mark 75 years of a movement 
Global – May 6 2024

75 Years of Impact publication to mark 75 years of a movement 

SOS Children’s Villages marks 75 years of a movement for children and young people without parental care or at risk of losing it with the release of "75 Years of Impact," a publication that explores the organization's contributions towards long-term impact in the lives of individuals and communities, and towards systemic change.    

The publication represents an update of the social impact assessment data presented in our earlier report, 70 Years of Impact, but also expands the discussion to include results from our advocacy efforts in the last two decades. A series of interviews help to illustrate impact. These include the perspectives of former program participants, a professional caregiver, a community leader and two policymakers, Hon. Anne Musiwa, Rapporteur of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and Julián Peinado Ramírez, Member of the House of Representatives of Colombia.

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Impact in the lives of individuals

The publication illustrates the impact of our services in four key ways: breaking the cycle of separation and abandonment through care, enabling self-reliance through education and employment, securing basic needs and creating the foundation for a happy life. 

To highlight one: in research conducted with former program participants, we found that good care and nurturing relationships carries into the next generation. Overall, 92% of those who received family-like care and family strengthening have strong family relationships and support networks, and effectively care for their own children.

As Alain who grew up in a children’s village in Belgium summarizes it: "My wife and I will encourage our son to explore, to take on projects and discover what life has to offer. It’s like an acrobat having a net below to be caught when something goes wrong in the jump. My wife and I will be there to support him and be the net when necessary." 


Change on the community, national and international levels

Beyond impact in the lives of individuals, the report highlights the broader systemic challenges facing children without parental care, from inadequate child protection systems to societies that still condone violence against children.  It outlines how advocacy campaigns – with the participation of partners and young people - have led to changes in policies and practices on the national and international stage.  

To highlight one - SOS Children’s Villages was engaged in the development of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the subsequent 2019 UN Resolution on the Rights of the Child focusing on children without parental care.  

The importance of nurturing environments

Science confirms that children need nurturing relationships to grow and develop, and to build resilience against adversity. It is well established that the lack of positive interactions in early childhood can harm brain development and that child neglect and abuse, and family separation can have long-term consequences for physical and emotional well-being in adulthood. 

Preventing this harm requires a multifaceted approach: one that ensures children can rely on an adult in their life for support and encouragement; families are equipped with strategies to deal with stress and that promote overall well-being and healing from trauma when relevant; communities are able to provide individuals and families with a reliable social support net; and policy frameworks leave no person or group behind.

“When societies improve the ways in which they interact with children, they gain an investment not only in their human capital but in their economic situation, because they will have healthier, more stable and more productive cities," says Julián Peinado Ramírez, Member of the House of Representatives of Colombia.

"Together, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a world where every child and young person is given the opportunity to live a life of dignity," writes SOS Children's Villages International President Dereje Wordofa and Acting CEO Angela Rosales in the forward of the publication. "Together, we can continue to build on this global movement, which remains a beacon of hope for those who have no one – so that no child grows up alone."

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