Our Work

Family Strengthening Programs

Situation Overview

Families across the world are more vulnerable today than ever before. Adverse circumstances like poverty, armed conflict and disease present overwhelming challenges for parents and threaten family stability.

When families are at risk of falling apart, children are at a much greater risk of being abandoned and left vulnerable to the many dangers that threaten the lives and welfare of children on their own.

cause of child abandonment around the world
children have lost or are at risk of losing parental care
children and youth don't go to school
children suffer from acute malnutrition

Our Impact
children’s and youth’s lives improved
Family-Strengthening Programs worldwide

Building Resilient Families

Our Family-Strengthening Programs empower families to overcome hardships. We strengthen families at risk of falling apart, giving them the support they need to grow stronger, stay together and keep their children safe.

In partnership with governments, NGOs and other relief organizations, we build effective community support systems. Our short-term assistance to vulnerable families includes food, medical care and access to education. Our long-term services, which focus on making families self-reliant, include savings and loan associations, income-generating activities, childrearing classes, health education and more.

SOS Family-Strengthening Programs support families with:

Health Care

Access to nutritional and health care support to keep children and families healthy.


Assistance with school fees, uniforms and materials so children have the opportunity to learn.


Trainings in parenting and household management to help parents provide better care for their children.


Job skills and income generation support to help families establish a sustainable livelihood.

Learn More: SOS Children's Villages in Action

Case Studies

Determined Grandmother Raises Six Grandchildren

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At age 68, Nester was struggling to raise six grandsons on the money she earned plowing fields and selling firewood. Often, it was not enough to feed and clothe the boys, or to cover their school tuition — even with government assistance.

When the SOS Village in Siteki, Swaziland, was established in 2009, Nester’s family became one of more than 100 at-risk households in its Family-Strengthening Program.

SOS worked with Nester and her family to develop a long-term plan for self-sufficiency, which included short-term financial relief to cover the cost of keeping the boys in school. Nester also received training to become part of a farming cooperative, which provides a sustainable source of income that supports her family.

Today, Nester and the boys are thriving. Her oldest grandson, Alex, has completed college and teaches at a secondary school in Siteki. His income helps support his grandmother, his brother and his four cousins.

Abandonment is not uncommon for children born in Swaziland. Numerous challenges, including poverty and HIV/AIDS, have left thousands of children orphaned or in the care of elderly relatives who struggle to provide for them.

Receiving Help During a Financial Crisis

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Cleo is one of the many people in Greece affected by the country’s economic crisis. Her family was on the verge of homelessness for many years and could not afford medical care. Cleo and her husband separated not too long ago because of the burden placed on them by the economy.

Cleo works as a house cleaner, but only one day a week. She makes just 20 dollars a week, and the weak economy makes it almost impossible for her to find a steadier job.

Cleo has one son, 12-year-old Nicolas, who suffers from dyslexia and obesity. The economic crisis has made obesity a big problem for children in Greece because many families cannot afford nutritious food. Nicolas has gone without educational interventions for his dyslexia for many years because of the family's economic situation.

Cleo represents one of the 1,150 families receiving support from the SOS Social Center in Piraeus. She works with an SOS social worker who helps her find public assistance such as welfare and free dental care. Additionally, Nicolas works with a psychologist and special education teacher to help him cope with his dyslexia.

A Grandmother Helps Her Family

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Six-year-old Nirmala lost her mother to an earthquake in Nepal. Her mother died instantly, but emergency workers found Nirmala in the rubble, and she survived with minor injuries. Nirmala’s grandmother, Bhagawati, wanted to help her son, Nirmala’s father, raise Nirmala and her siblings, but neither Bhagawati nor her son made enough money to support the children. According to Bhagawati, Nirmala’s mother had done everything to fulfill the family’s needs.

The children and Bhagawati met aid workers from SOS on the day they were burying their mother. Nirmala’s family is one of the 1,000 at-risk families selected for the SOS Kinship Care Program, which is focused on providing families with what they need to start rebuilding their lives.

Bhagawati received money and other forms of support from the program. Today, Nirmala and her siblings are attending school.

Regaining Confidence in Haiti

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Marie-Ange Billy is the president of the SOS Canaan Community Center in Haiti. In 2009, Marie-Ange and her husband became unable to provide for their children. Unemployed, they had no income to pay school fees or buy food. This led to Marie-Ange taking her youngest children to the SOS Canaan Community Center, which gave her time to focus on making money while her children were in a safe place.

Today, Marie-Ange is not only the president of the community center but is also studying to be a teacher. Her goal is to empower women in Haiti.

Download the Fact Sheet

Download our informational fact sheet to learn more about our Family-Strengthening Programs around the world.


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