Every penny raised during WOW goes directly to SOS Children, the world’s largest orphan charity. We provide a family and a home for children who have lost their parents through war, famine, disease or poverty. We also run programmes to help strengthen more than one million vulnerable families and keep them together.
Below, you can find out about some of the children who have been helped thanks to SOS Children and with your help, we can help even more.
Albert, form Malawi, used to live happily with his single-mum. However, when he was 8-years-old, his mother died of AIDS and so he went to live with his grandmother. She tried her best to care for Albert but did not have enough money to feed him or buy him clothes so SOS Children decided to help.
Albert had tuberculosis, was HIV positive and was severely malnourished with a swollen face when SOS Children met him. SOS Children brought him to one of their Children’s Villages and gave him a new mum, house and borthers and sisters. And after just two months of love and care from SOS Children, Albert is happy and healthy, receiving anti-retroviral treatment and attending school.
The SOS family has been at the heart of our work for 60 years, giving children without the care of their own family the support and security they deserve.
Artur was born into what was a happy family in Minsk, Belarus. However, Artur’s mother’s health was deteriorating: she was incurably ill as a result of the Chernobyl disaster and when Artur was just four-years-old, his mother could no longer stand the pain and committed suicide.
Artur’s father could not cope following the death of his wife. He turned to drink, lost his job and paid no attention to his son. Apart from his elderly grandmother, he had no one to take care of him. Social services did their best to help the family, but very soon Artur’s father died in an accident. Artur was just five-years-old.
Now seven-years-old, Artur lives at SOS Children’s Village Marina Gorka near Minsk, where he once more has a happy family, a caring mother and brothers and sisters who he loves to play with.
Elizabeth is a busy grandmother. At the age of 56, she brings up her four grandsons, aged between two and ten - alone. The boys’ mothers, Elizabeth’s two daughters, have both died.
Elizabeth leads a life of hard work and stress. The family home, in Kitwe, Zambia, has no piped water or sewage system. The family makes do with a communal well and a pit latrine. And finding enough food for the boys and herself is a constant struggle. In her small garden she is able to grow vegetables, some of which she sells to other villagers, but she does not have enough money to cover the cost of schooling and health care.
Recently, in desperation, she contacted the SOS Social Centre in Kitwe which runs a Family Strengthening Programme, and it was this initiative that began to transform the lives of herself and her grandsons.
Because Elizabeth could grow and sell garden vegetables successfully, the SOS Social Centre came up with a ‘seed pack’ loan. This enabled her to increase both the quantity and diversity of her crops, and she was provided with insecticides and fertilizers to ensure a good harvest. Elizabeth also attended courses on gardening methods and the management of a small business.
The results have been dramatic. Her income has increased tenfold, and she is now much more confident in her ability to look after her grandsons and ensure they are well fed. The boys are now attending school, and Elizabeth is able to pay for health care when it is needed. Elizabeth says, “I thank God for SOS Children.”
A Family Rescue in Estonia
Life in an Estonia orphanage was pretty bleak for ten-year-old Rein and his four younger siblings. The children were divided up by age, with up to 20 living in a single room, so Rein only occasionally saw his brother and three sisters. But worse was to come. Arrangements were being made for Rein and his brother, Jaan, to be adopted. Their sisters would remain at the orphanage, so the family would split up, probably never to be reunited.
However, in the nearby SOS Children’s Village at Keila a family house and SOS mother were ready and equipped to take in the complete family of five - Rein and Jaan, and the three girls, Jaanika, Eidi and Triin.
Today, the children have adapted to their new life in the Village slowly but steadily. Following their enforced separation at the orphanage, it took a little while for the siblings to get used to living together as a family again. The family bond strengthened rapidly, and they now all love their new SOS mother, Maire. The children love being involved in all kinds sports, and Maire’s own hobby of sweet making is understandably very popular!
SOS Children never separate natural brothers and sisters and children stay within the same SOS family. Now Rein and his siblings can build ties that last a lifetime.
Margaret is an eight-year-old AIDS orphan from Swaziland. Since the death of her parents, she has been living with her Aunt who is very poor and couldn’t afford to send her to school. However, thanks to the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Mbabane, Swaziland, which works to empower families and prevent child abandonment, Margaret has been able to return to school. We provided her with books, stationery, a school uniform and a brand new pair of school shoes and also paid her school fees. Now, she is a regular pupil who works hard and enjoys her classes.
SOS Children has given Margaret a chance to break out of poverty and make a future for herself. Family Strengthening Programmes work with families and communities that are vulnerable to child abandonment or abuse, and who are unable to properly care for their children due to health or economic problems. These programmes promote proper development of children within their natural families, and with the support of their communities and SOS.
About SOS Children
SOS Children’s main aim is to help children whose parents are not there for them: AIDS orphans, street children, child soldiers and children orphaned by war, poverty, illness or natural disasters. Traditionally, we provide children with a home, a family and a new mother in a purpose-built local Village. We currently run 473 of these unique SOS Children’s Villages caring directly for more than 70,000 children in 123 countries worldwide. In places where there is a high rate of child abandonment, we also run programmes to help strengthen more than one million vulnerable families and keep them together.