06/06/09 - The day after President Barack Obama delivered a long-awaited address to the Muslim world from a stage at Cairo University, he flew to Germany. At a June 5th news conference in that nation’s eastern city of Dresden, he stated, “The moment is now for us to act” on Middle East peace efforts involving Israel and the Palestinians, and “to act on what we all know to be the truth, which is each side is going to have to make some difficult compromises."
Peace in the Middle East would bring great relief to the region’s children, who have suffered tremendous hardship from the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Fortunately, SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest charity devoted to providing loving homes to orphaned and abandoned children, has been on site to help.
SOS Children’s Villages Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Caring for Children
For SOS Children’s Villages, first established in Austria in 1949, it is fitting that President Obama should stop in Germany to reiterate his call for Middle East peace. Germany was an early adopter of SOS’s family-based model of child care, opening its first Children’s Village in 1956 on Lake Ammer. SOS now runs fourteen Children’s Villages in Germany.
The SOS model was created by Hermann Gmeiner, an Austrian child welfare worker appalled by the bleak conditions facing destitute European children after World War II. SOS Children’s Villages is based on the premise that a warm home, professionally trained local SOS mothers, SOS siblings, and a supportive community can provide the ingredients needed for lonely, traumatized children to grow into healthy adults.
Also Offering Education to Children and Counseling to Needy Families
But SOS Children’s Villages provides more than homes. The organization, now in 132 countries, also operates SOS schools, clinics, and vocational training centers. SOS programs include family strengthening programs that enable more parents to keep families intact.
The first SOS Children’s Villages in the Middle East were set up in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories in the late 1960s. Villages in Egypt and Israel followed in 1976 and 1981, respectively.
If you would like to help a child from the Middle East or Germany secure a warm home, a full stomach, and a bright future, consider sponsoring an SOS child.