One person can make a difference…

Working together we make lasting changes. Learn how Hermann Gmeiner, a child welfare worker, started SOS Children’s Villages on a shoe-string.

The first SOS Children’s Village was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Tyrol, Austria, in 1949. As a child welfare worker, Gmeiner saw how children orphaned as a result of World War II suffered. He was committed to helping them by building loving families and supportive communities.

With the generous support of donors, child sponsors, partners and friends, Gmeiner’s vision of providing loving, family-based care for children without parental care, and of helping families stay together so they can care for their children, has grown steadily over six decades.

Today, SOS Children’s Villages International is active in 134 countries and territories around the world, helping hundreds of thousands of children each year through family-based alternative care, schools, health centers, family strengthening programmes, and other community-based work.

SOS Children’s Villages was established in Palestine in 1966. The village in Bethlehem was built in 1968, and shortly after the work with children and families began. The work of SOS Children’s Villages has adapted to meet the needs of the local population. Alongside local agencies, our organization has been working directly with families and communities to empower them to effectively protect and care for their children and young people.