SOS Children’s Villages Milestones – Helping Orphaned and Abandoned Children since 1949

SOS Children’s Villages creates stable, loving families for orphaned and abandoned children. We provide mothers who give individual attention and guidance to each child until they become an independent adult. We are raising 82,000 children in over 570 villages across 134 countries, including the US. Through our outreach programs we impact the lives of over 1 million people each year. Below are some of the milestones that have shaped us and allowed us to provide a loving home to the children who need it most.

SOS Children's Villages founder, Hermann Gmeiner, with children in Côte d'Ivoire. 
  • 1949: First SOS Children's Villages association founded in Austria and first SOS Children's Village built in Imst, Austria, by Hermann Gmeiner.
  • 1955: First SOS Youth House built in Innsbruck, Austria. SOS Children's Villages associations established in France, Germany and Italy.
  • 1960: SOS Children’s Villages International established as the umbrella organization for all SOS Children's Villages associations. SOS Children’s Villages begins its work in Latin America (Uruguay).
  • 1963: SOS Children’s Villages is established in the United States and begins its work in Asia (South Korea and India).
  • 1970: First African SOS Children's Village built in Côte d'Ivoire. Projects also begin in Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone.
  • 1981: Opening of the Hermann Gmeiner Academy in Innsbruck as a training center for SOS staff from around the world.
  • 1991: Foundation of the first SOS Children's Village in the USA. SOS Children's Villages open in Poland and the Soviet Union, with the addition of new projects in Bulgaria and Romania.
  • 1995: SOS Children’s Villages International classified as an "NGO with consultative status (category II) with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations".
  • 2002: SOS Children’s Villages International awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, a world renowned humanitarian award, for extraordinary contributions towards alleviating human suffering.
  • 2005: Following the tsunami disaster in Asia, SOS Children's Villages provides emergency assistance (food, medicine, child-friendly spaces, and temporary shelter) as well as long-term support (reconstruction of family houses, family strengthening programs, community centers and SOS facilities) in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • 2007: The 100th European SOS Children's Village opens in Valmiera, Latvia. The organization helps victims of natural disasters in Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru and Uruguay, as well as those displaced in the crisis-torn regions of Sudan, Chad and Somalia.  SOS Children's Villages wins the OPEC Fund Award for Development.
  • 2009: SOS Children’s Villages celebrates sixty years of achievements in working to provide loving homes to orphaned and abandoned children in need.
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