SOS Children’s Villages are now in need | Sunday Observer

SOS Children’s Villages are now in need

The SOS Children’s Villages, an independent Non-Governmental Organisation has been working in Sri Lanka for 37 years to ensure that children lacking in parental of family care due to various reasons do not get abandoned and end up in vulnerable situations.

With over seventy years of expertise, SOS Children’s Villages provide good alternative care for such children who have lost their parents due to various reasons. Using their extensive expertise, this organisation has developed a program which incorporates all necessities a parentless child would need to grow up to be a healthy young adult. This is known as ‘Family Like Care’. This is a care solution in which an orphaned child is given the best alternative care very similar to a normal family setting by providing the child with a loving home, a caring mother, supportive siblings and a safe community.

SOS Chidren’s Villages

In Sri Lanka, there are six SOS Children’s Villages in Piliyandala, Galle, Moneragala, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura and Jaffna. Each village consists of several houses known as SOS homes and all homes have a long term caregiver known as the SOS mother who has the responsibility of caring for at least ten children who have lost parental care. This creates a family-like environment of a mother and children living under the same roof and the children develop bonds like siblings.

Each village has a guarded and secure perimeter ensuring a safe community. There are 960 orphaned children benefiting in all six villages at the moment.

All children in SOS villages attend school and are provided with all necessities. There are many young adults who have grown up in SOS Children’s Villages, Sri Lanka, and are now successful graduates living well in society. Boys and girls who are unable to gain entrance to a University are given the option of following a vocational training course, either at SOS Children’s Villages vocational training centres or at an external one most convenient for them. Currently, there are five SOS vocational training centres in the country. Once the boys reach 14 and girls 18 years of age, they are transferred to a separate ‘Youth Home’. The rationale behind this is to provide an environment in which the young adolescents will gradually learn to be independent under the guidance of an SOS co-worker.

SOS Children’s Villages ‘Family Strengthening Program’ takes preventive measures to save families at risk of breaking up thus rendering children parentless. Families living below the poverty line in target locations around Sri Lanka are identified and enrolled into this five-year program and are empowered to be financially independent. They are taught self-employment skills free.SOS Children’s Villages completely covers the cost of schooling for the children for the program’s duration. Currently, there are 3,500 poverty stricken families benefitting from this Family strengthening program conducted by SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka.