Family-Like Care


Every child needs a loving family. SOS families provide stable, secure and loving care in a family setting for children who have lost their parents or cannot live with their biological family.


“. . . in every respect, the SOS Children’s Village must fit into its surroundings. As far as possible, every suggestion of an abnormal situation must be avoided, even if this involves certain disadvantages. For the more normal the circumstances in which the child grows up, the better for its development. The neglected child has one great wish: to be like other children.” – Hermann Gmeiner –


The SOS Village is a community of loving, stable families where children who are at risk of losing parental care and those without parental care are given the opportunity to grow up in a caring and secure family environment and form lasting relationships. Within the SOS Village it is where the children find an SOS Mother, brothers and sisters, and a place to call home. Each Village consists of at least ten family houses, a kindergarten, a clinic and a social centre. Each child is offered individual development opportunities tailored to their needs and potential. The SOS mother guides the development of the children in her SOS family. Youth programmes offer learning and growth opportunities and are a part of each SOS Children’s Village. Young people develop the attitudes, behaviour, confidence and skills needed to take responsibility for building their own futures and to become successful and contributing members of society. The integration of young people back into the communities at large are emphasized at the SOS Children’s Villages to enable them to form lasting friendships and connections with people outside of their immediate SOS families. We empower children to become contributing members of society, accompanying them on their journey towards self-reliance through a child development planning process.


Our family-like care model is founded on four basic principles

  • A Mother: each child has a caring parent.
  • Brothers and Sisters: family ties grow naturally, and biological brothers and sisters always stay together.
  • The House: each family creates its own home.
  • A Village: the SOS family is part of the community.

SOS families live together, forming a supportive village environment where children enjoy a happy childhood. The families share experiences and offer one another a helping hand. They also live as integrated and contributing members of the local community. Through his or her family, village and community, each child learns to participate actively in society. The SOS Children’s Villages are situated in three locations namely: In Sidwashini where the first village was built and officially opened in 1990 and named Engonweni. In 2001 the second village was officially opened in Nhlangano and in 2010 the third village was officially opened in Siteki and named Ekutfokomeni.

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