29 July 2008

SOS Children's Villages Takes a Leap into Virtual World Second Life

On Happy Childhood Island, visitors can build and re-live moments of Happy Childhood

07/29/08 - SOS Children's Villages, the international NGO providing care for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children in 132 countries and territories, launched its presence in the virtual world Second Life to connect, inform and change the lives of people who would never have met in the real world.

The world of Second Life offers nonprofits a powerful interactive way to reach and mobilize the public. Although the general hype about Second Life may be over, SOS Children's Villages wants to grasp every opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of providing children with a happy childhood. Many children are all alone, have no secure foundation of a loving family, or are at risk of losing their family.

The aim of our virtual appearance is to address what to many people is a rather abstract concept or may already be forgotten, and to "take" them on a virtual trip so they can be reminded of how important it is to lead a happy childhood. Through Happy Childhood Island, SOS Children's Villages wants to reach out to a new audience, raise awareness, inspire people to become active, and produce a tangible impact.

What is new about this Second Life appearance is that visitors don't receive ready-made things to use. The visitors have to be creative themselves. As a starting point, some hints for ideas are already posted on the Happy Childhood Island on billboards.
There is the challenge and opportunity for all visitors to build things modelled along the following topic: "Happy moments in childhood". This is how all visitors to the island may re-live these happy feelings of childhood.

Examples for such experiences may be: learning to ride a bicycle, playing in a sandbox, building a tree house, and sitting on a merry-go-round.
 
But not all children are that fortunate – many of them have been abandoned. Visitors should also go inside the House of Peace where, through videos, billboards and note cards, they can interactively learn about what SOS Children's Villages does to help abandoned children and children being at risk of being abandoned. Moreover, visitors can make their contribution to give these children hope directly via an international donation and sponsorship gateway.

SOS Children's Villages is expecting a virtual community to get just as much involved as a real community to help children in need.

SOS Children's Villages is a non-governmental and non-denominational organization providing care for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children in 132 countries and territories. More than 70,000 children are cared for at 473 SOS Children's Villages and 383 SOS Youth Facilities. In addition, the organization provides more than 420.000 people, mainly children and their families, with material, psychosocial and educational support through family strengthening programmes. More than 139,000 children and youths attend SOS Schools, SOS Kindergartens and SOS Vocational Training Centres, In addition, SOS Medical Centres and SOS Emergency Relief Programmes are supporting more than 500,000 people. SOS-Kinderdorf International is the umbrella organisation of all worldwide SOS Children's Villages.
 
About Second Life and Linden Lab
Second Life is a 3D online world with a STILL rapidly growing population of more than 13,700,000 residents from 100 countries around the globe. The residents themselves create and build the world, including homes, vehicles, stores, landscapes and clothing.
 
Second Life is created by Linden Lab, a San Francisco-based company founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale to create a revolutionary new form of shared experience as rich and complex as the real world. Through the Second Life world, Linden Lab offers a truly collaborative, immersive, and open-ended 3-D virtual environment created and inhabited by people from around the globe.