Parents who have troubled lives or are in a situation of crisis often simply cannot cope and are therefore not in a position to look after their children. Many lack essentials such as money to pay for doctor's fees or school, enough strength, good health, or confidence in the future. Through its family strengthening programmes, SOS Children's Villages hopes to help families to learn to look after themselves so that they can live independently in the long-term. Only in this way can we ensure that children are not left on their own and that they grow up in their families.

SOS Children's Villages is convinced that it is almost always best for children to grow up in families. Millions of children across the world have already lost the protection of their families. Poverty, disease, violence, natural disasters and armed conflicts mean that every day there are more children who at risk of being abandoned, neglected and/or abused.

SOS Children's Villages works with the communities concerned and with local partners to support disadvantaged families across the world. Its family strengthening programmes are aimed according to local circumstances at special target groups such as single mothers, families that have been affected by HIV/AIDS or families with financial problems that are often linked to addiction, illness and exclusion. SOS Children's Villages' family strengthening programmes are divided into three phases.


short-term support

Ensuring the survival and development of the children

School money, seeds or a warm meal a day - often, very little is needed to take a first step towards easing misery and immediately ensuring that children survive and have a healthy development. Receiving the essentials, medical care or access to education are deciding factors for children when it comes to their prospects for the future. This is why SOS Children's Villages is helping disadvantaged families to provide for the basic needs of their children and establish equal rights in the field of education. Families receive, for example, regular visits and are given advice. Food parcels are provided, and school and medical fees are sometimes paid.


medium-term support

Supporting parents and giving them guidance

Poverty and difficult living conditions mean that many parents cannot care for their children in an appropriate manner. They do not manage to earn enough to live on, or do not have the strength or the means to protect their children's health. This vicious circle can however be broken in many cases if the appropriate support is given. SOS Children's Villages is available for these parents; it gives them strength and supports them in claiming their rights from official authorities. Many parents have the opportunity as part of SOS Children's Villages' family strengthening programmes to make a new start through training or micro-credits. They can receive advice and exchange their newly-found strength with others, becoming stronger both for their children and for themselves.


long-term support

Creating social networks for children

SOS Children's Villages supports families and communities so that they are able to provide for their children themselves in the future. This is why SOS Children's Villages' family strengthening programmes very much rely on work with the communities and volunteer work. In this way, local decision-makers are involved and objective needs analyses are carried out when the decision is made as to which families need what help. Only in this way can social networks develop, which local people can carry on and support on a long-term basis without assistance from SOS Children's Villages.



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