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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

According to which religion are the children brought up?

Each child is brought up according to the beliefs (s) he shares with her or his biological parents. If the parents’ faith is not known, the child is brought up according to the religion, which is most common in the particular culture. In many SOS Children’s Villages, different faiths are represented.

Which educational approach is used for bringing up the children?

SOS Children’s Villages works to ensure that each child has access to education and training that address individual needs and circumstances and helps children develop their potential. We promote a holistic approach to child-centred education which supports children in their personal capabilities. We work to create supportive, empowering and motivating learning environments that enhance the development of all children. An individual development plan and educational goals are established together with each child and young person living in SOS family care.

When do children leave the care of SOS Children's Villages?

There is no specific age at which children have to leave the SOS Children's Village. They stay in the care of SOS Children's Villages until they are capable of looking after themselves. 

Do Siblings stay in the same house when taken into the villages or are they separated?

When the child is self-reliant and well mature to make a living for his or herself.

How do you apply for a job at SOS?

You can either drop your CV with the nearest SOS Children’s village’s offices or the vacancies page on the website to see advertised posts. 

What is Kinship care and Foster care?

Kinship care & Foster care are temporary placements of children. The former is an informal arrangement with biological relatives while the latter is a court-ordered instruction and it involves non-biological relatives to the child. Adoption is a permanent placement of children either with biological or none biological relatives to the child.

What is family strengthening?

Families experiencing crises or extreme hardship may have difficulty caring adequately for their children. We work with families and communities to help them build their capacities so that children are well cared for and families stay together.

What is Grieg gender?

Grieg Foundation was established in its present form in 2002 and owns 25% of the Grieg Group. The foundation contributes substantial amounts to a wide range of activities.Internationally and in Norway, there is an increasing need to support children and youth. Many of the projects Grieg Foundation supports are in the intersection between youth work and culture work.

How do I make a donation to SOS Children’s Villages?

If you want to make a contribution to SOS Children's Villages you can do it via our website, Facebook page. Donations via the website can only be made using a credit card (Visa or Master Card).

How do you become an SOS volunteer?

One can submit a CV to the village of his or her choose with all the necessary details and clearly stating exactly what he or she will be interested in doing (volunteering).

What does ‘’SOS’’ mean?

‘SOS’ stands for Societas Socialis. In 1949, Hermann Gmeiner and his supporters founded the Societas Socialis, a social club with the goal of raising funds for the care of orphaned children in Austria. A year later, the name was changed to SOS Children’s Villages.

To Hermann Gmeiner and his supporters, ‘SOS’ meant a socially responsible society. They believed that every child deserves a mother, as well as brothers and sisters, a home and a supportive community environment.

What is a National Office?

Each SOS Children’s Villages association establishes a National Office to coordinate the activities of all SOS Children’s Villages programmes and facilities in the respective country.

What is the difference between SOS Children’s Villages International and SOS Children’s Villages?

SOS Children’s Villages’ is the English name of the entire organisation, which is active in 135 countries and territories through national associations.

SOS Children’s Villages International is the name of the umbrella organisation of all SOS Children’s Villages associations. It was founded in 1960. As the umbrella organisation has been registered as an association with the Austrian authorities, the legal name used is ‘SOS-Kinderdorf International’ – German for ‘SOS Children’s Village International’.

SOS Children’s Villages International supports the national associations in their activities and tracks the overall impact of the organisation. The headquarters are in Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria. It is supported by six regional offices as well as representatives in Brussels, Geneva, and New York.

All SOS Children’s Villages associations are registered in their individual countries and are bound by national laws. They have their own local boards and are responsible for the organisation’s activities in each respective country.

What is an SOS Children’s Villages?

Every SOS Children’s Village provides quality alternative care in a family environment and stability to children who have lost their parents or can no longer live with them. Four to ten boys and girls of different ages live together with their SOS parent(s) in a family house, and a village community tends to be made up of around eight to fifteen SOS Children’s Village families.

In some locations, SOS families live side by side with neighbours from their communities. The children receive the same quality care as in other SOS Children’s Villages, but the SOS families are integrated in the wider communities. The children and young people in SOS Children’s Villages care attend schools and other facilities in the local community.

At SOS Children’s Villages, children are supported in their individual development, education and health.

Who decides whether a child is admitted or not?

SOS Children’s Villages defines admission criteria individually for each country, in line with SOS Children’s Villages’ international guidelines and the economic, social, and legal requirements of the particular country. The decision whether a child can be admitted to SOS family care is made in co-operation between SOS Children’s Villages and the national welfare authorities and social services. If any of the child’s siblings are also in need of alternative care, every effort is made to keep the siblings together.

Which Children are eligible for admission to an SOS Children’s Villages?

Every effort is made to ensure that the children placed in an SOS family are those who are going to benefit most from its care. Only children who need a new, permanent home in a family environment and for whom a more suitable care placement cannot be found are considered for admission into an SOS family. Generally speaking, children up to the age of ten can be admitted. However, when a group of siblings is admitted, group members’ ages may vary.

Is it possible to visit SOS Children’s Villages?

Generally, it is possible to pay a short visit to an SOS Children’s Village. As the well-being of children is of paramount importance for us.

How do sponsorship work?

Child or village sponsorships are regular financial donations specifically earmarked for the support of a child or an SOS Children’s Village. Read more in our Sponsorship FAQ

Does SOS Children’s Villages help the youth in their programmes find jobs?

SOS Children’s Villages works with young people to help them prepare for the job market and for independence. Through youth employability programmes and in cooperation with local, national and international partners, SOS Children’s Villages offers support including: career orientation and coaching, strengthening vocational and entrepreneurial skills, access to work experience and in-house training, innovation through information technology.

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