Our history



Following the devastation of World War II, Hermann Gmeiner, a child welfare worker, saw the suffering of children who were orphaned by the war. He founded SOS Children's Villages and raised money to build the first village in Imst, Austria in 1949, where children could grow up in a stable, family-like setting with a supportive community.

More than 75 years later, SOS Children's Villages works in more than 130 countries and territories, operates more than 540 villages and has expanded the scope of our work to a fully comprehensive approach of helping children, families and communities succeed long-term.

With the generous support of donors, sponsors, partners and friends, SOS Children’s Villages builds families for children in need, helps them shape their futures and shares in the development of their communities. Together, we transform the lives of more than 2.5 million children and families each year.

For millions of vulnerable children around the world, you are the answer. Change a child’s life today!