Organisations active in India

SOS Children's Villages of Netherlands
SOS Kinderdorpen-Nederland
Overschiestraat 59 A
1062 XD Amsterdam
Tel:020 - 408 01 90
Fax:020 - 669 64 52

Postal address:
Postbus 9104
1006 AC Amsterdam
Giro: 2280

SOS Children's Villages of Netherlands (SOS Kinderdorpen-Nederland) is a non-political welfare organisation. It is part of the worldwide SOS Children's Village movement with associations in 132 covering covering more than 430 Children's Villages and is a member of the Umbrella organisation, SOS Kinderdorf International. Every country has its own association. It is the combination of autonomous, local responsibility, global action and a simple, ageless concept, which has been crucial to the reliability and successful work of SOS Children's Villages. The Dutch branch 'SOS-Kinderdorf International' was established in 1960. SOS Children's Village is the largest NGO in the world looking after orphans and children which are left by their parents. It does not receive any financial aid from the government.

In view of the misery of countless war orphans and homeless children after the Second World War, the Austrian Hermann Gmeiner initiated the construction of the world's first SOS Children's Village (SOS Kinderdorp) in the small Tyrolean town of Imst in 1949. His capital was 600 Austrian Schillings. Decades later it became a worldwide organisation.

SOS Children's Villages revolve around the effort to give children who have lost their parents or who are no longer able to live with them a permanent home and a stable environment. The SOS Children's Village family-like structure is formed by four basic principles: mother, brothers and sisters, house and village. Four to ten boys and girls of different ages live together with their SOS mother in a family house, and eight to fifteen SOS Children's Village families form a village community. Each child is given a so-called SOS mother. She is the main person who cares for this child and is a substitute for the child's natural parents. She lives in a house together with the children that she is looking after. Together with them she organises the family's daily life. Every family has a house of its own.

The goals of the 192 SOS Social Centres operating worldwide vary considerably, depending on local needs and the availability of welfare infrastructure in the country. Basically the aim is to help families, in particular women and children, living in communities neighbouring the SOS Children's Villages to gradually escape from poverty, and to help young people to become self-reliant.

Special emphasis is placed on giving the children a thorough preparation for life on their own afterwards. This is in order that the children can be integrated into their local community and opens job opportunities for them. Those facilities which follow the SOS Children's Village in the chain of care and support are therefore of utmost importance. Youth facilities, vocational training centres and schools belong to this group of secondary facilities.

Beyond that there are also other types of facilities and aid programmes whose main intention it is to improve living conditions for families in the neighbourhood on a long-term basis. The social centres, kindergartens, medical centres, training centres and schools are not only used by children and youths from the SOS Children's Village but are also there for the general public. The emphasis lies in providing further education, a basic medical service and in improving the social conditions in the long-term.

Since its inception in the year 1964 SOS Children's Villages of India has expanded its services for children in need, at a rapid pace. SOS Children's Villages of India has 34 Children's Villages and 122 allied projects including facilities for Tibetan children. The organization provides direct care to 15,000 children through its Children's Villages and indirect care to nearly 200,000 children through its various community projects. The latter includes Kindergartens / Schools / Social / Medical / Vocational Training Centres and Family Helper Programmes.

Photo's are by courtesy of SOS Children's Village.