Strengthening families and communities.
At SOS, we combine short-term aid and long-term guidance to strengthen families so they are better able to care for their children and to protect them from child labor, child trafficking and other threats to their safety.
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 abused, abandoned or exploited.
cause of child abandonment is poverty
children worldwide are at risk of growing up alone
children suffer from acute malnutrition
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We work with governments, communities and other stakeholders to build effective support systems for struggling families. These efforts enable access to education, healthcare services and employment opportunities that are essential to maintaining safe environments for children.
Maria Luisa, age 42, has participated in our family strengthening programs in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala, for two years. Through these workshops, Maria Luisa has grown to understand the importance of education, both for herself and for her children ...
Nyalela, a 64-year-old woman in Cape Town, South Africa, was raising three grandchildren on a small pension. It was in 2011 that her daughter died from meningitis, leaving the three boys in Nyalela’s care. To make life easier, Nyalela joined the family strengthening program in 2012 ...
You can prevent child abandonment by strengthening families. Donate today to give children a strong start to life.
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. This comprehensive approach builds resilient families that go on to better their own lives and strengthen their communities.
Learn More About Our Family and Community Strengthening Programs
September 19 2017
In Zambia, this single mother-headed family managed to escape poverty thanks to participating in an SOS Family-Support Program.
July 14 2017
Mildred, an SOS Mother, talks about raising vulnerable children in her SOS Family in Kenya.
April 6 2017
New report exposes prevalence of violence against children and describes effective projects around world to reduce and prevent it.
Children who lack family care can become part of a new family at one of our SOS villages, join an SOS-supported foster family or be cared for by relatives who benefit from SOS services.
We work with other development agencies, governments and communities to advance initiatives that help children and families, and to raise awareness about the rights of children and the responsibilities of those around them.
To increase youth employability and unlock young adults' full potential, we provide education, life skills development, vocational and entrepreneurship training, soft skills development, access to internships, mentoring and more.
Power of Education
Maria Luisa, age 42, has participated in our family strengthening programs in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala, for two years. Not only have she and her family benefited from receiving food supplies, they have also participated in SOS’s family development workshops. Through these workshops, Maria Luisa has grown to understand the importance of education, both for herself and for her children.
Prior to working with SOS, Maria Luisa was illiterate and could not afford to send any of her children to school. Now, her children are attending school, and one of her daughters has even received a scholarship, with SOS’s help. Maria Luisa has learned to read and write after taking literacy classes with SOS.
“I want my daughters to continue studying so they have a profession and will be able to do more than I have been able to do. I didn’t go to school. It has been through SOS Children’s Villages that I began with literacy classes… I am happy that I can read and write now.”
Keeping a Family Together
Nyalela, a 64-year-old woman in Cape Town, South Africa, was raising three grandchildren on a small pension. It was in 2011 that her daughter died from meningitis, leaving the three boys in Nyalela’s care.
Nyalela’s only source of income was her meager pension. She had already been struggling to make ends meet when it was just her; having three growing boys made it much harder to scrounge up enough food. Nyalela was able to secure a child support grant from the government, but even this did not allow her to cover her family’s costs.
A year later, Nyalela joined an SOS family strengthening program. Through this program, she has received tremendous support as the head of her household and the caregiver for her grandchildren. SOS community childcare workers come and share the burden of caring for her grandchildren, freeing up time and energy for Nyalela.
“The SOS team has become part of my family. I am not alone, as before,” says Nyalela. “If it was not for support, my family would have been badly affected.”
Since receiving SOS’s support, Nyalela has been able to join a local women’s society, through which she has been saving about a third of her pension. Using these savings, Nyalela was able to extend her house to include another bedroom for the boys and buy a bunk bed for them. She is currently saving to buy them bed linens.
Nyalela loves her grandchildren, but it can be quite hard for her to take care of them on her own. She has arthritis, so many basic household tasks are difficult for her.
Nyalela says, “When I see the children, I am happy… I am proud of the work I have done and that the family strengthening team stands with me. My dream is for the children to be educated so that they can take care of themselves.”