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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Liberia: SOS Children’s Villages Mark 75 Years of Transformative Support for Children Without Parental Care

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This year, SOS Children’s Villages is celebrating its 75th anniversary, commemorating decades of dedicated service to children who have lost parental care. Since its founding in 1949, the organization has grown into a global movement, advocating and providing family-like care and support to millions of children across more than 134 countries and territories.

Innovation Alternative Care

The first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, Austria was established, with the vision of creating a supportive, family-like environment for children who could no longer live with their biological families. This innovative approach focused on providing children with a stable home, loving caregivers, and a sense of community. This vision of family-Based Care has since been replicated worldwide, forming the pillar of SOS Children’s Villages’ operations.

Expanding Global Reach

Over the past 75 years, SOS Children’s Villages has expanded its reach globally. The organization now operates over 559 villages, 713 youth programmes – supporting young people on their journey towards an independent life, and 575 family strengthening programmes – supporting families so that they can care for and protect their children.

Landmark Achievements and initiatives

One SOS Children’s Village’s significant milestones include its role in advocating for the rights of children without parental care. The organization was instrumental in the development and adoption of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children in 2009. These guidelines provide a comprehensive framework for the care of children in need, emphasizing the importance of family-based and community-oriented solutions over institutional care.

In education, SOS Children’s Villages has implemented numerous programs aimed at ensuring children and young people receive quality education tailored to their needs. The organization’s empowerment and care centers are providing children and young adults with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in life. Caregivers are also empowered to provide support and quality care to children.

As SOS Children’s Villages celebrates its 75 years of impact, Dereje Wordofa, President of SOS Children’s Villages International reflects on the journey and future challenges. He thanked all those who have contributed to this achievement.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to the unwavering commitment of our staff members, volunteers, donors and partners who have contributed to this global movement dedicated to upholding and advocating for the rights of children and young people growing up alone.’ says Dereje Wordofa, President of SOS Children’s Villages International.

SOS Children’s Villages 75 Years of Impact publication tracks the organization’s impact in the lives of children and young people through programmes, as well as its impact in communities and advocacy work to effect broader change. At the same time, the organization learned from our past and will continue to strengthen safeguarding and governance to deliver on its mission, of providing safe and nurturing environments.

“As we reflect on the past 75 years and look to the future, it is evident that in our rapidly evolving world, an ever-increasing number of children and young people require protection,” says Angela Rosales, acting CEO and Chief Programme Officer of SOS Children’s Villages International.

“It’s imperative that we expand our movement to ensure that families at risk of breaking down receive the necessary support to stay together, and that children alone receive the quality care they rightfully deserve.”

Looking Ahead:

To address the issues facing children and families, SOS Children’s Villages is launching a global awareness of challenges facing children without parental care and a call to action aimed at emphasize the role of national governments and policy-makers in supporting families and children at risk of separation through investments in strong social and child protection.

SOS Children’s Villages has been a beacon of hope for children without parental care, offering them the stability and love they need to grow and thrive. As the organization looks to the future, it remains steadfast in its commitment to building a world where every child can experience love and protection to be their stronger self.

“Governments and partners must scale up investments in family strengthening and social protection so that no child faces unnecessary separation from their family,” says Prosper Ndione, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia.

We must also reaffirm our commitment to building a world where every child and young person grows up with the nurturing and supportive environment they need to become their strongest selves,” he added.

 

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