Here you can find some questions and answers regarding various aspects of our work. If you have more questions, please contact us.
1. What is SOS Children’s Villages?
SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania is the largest, non-governmental child welfare organization in Tanzania. It takes care of orphaned and abandoned children from across the country, without regard to race, ethnicity, religious or political background.
SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania is an affiliate of SOS Kinderdolf International, the umbrella organisation of all SOS Children’s Villages Associations. SOS Kinderdorf International is headquartered in Innsbruck, Austria.
2. What does “SOS” mean?
When it was founded in 1949 by Hermann Gmeiner, the organization that is today known as SOS Children’s Villages was called Societas Socialis. This translated into English as the Social Society. The name reflected the core ethos of SOS Children’s Villages – a caring society that extends a helping hand to the less privileged. On 28th April 1950, Societas Socialis (SOS) was converted into the “SOS Kinderdorf” (SOS Children’s Villages) Association.
3. How does an SOS Children’s Village operate?
Every SOS Children’s Village offers a permanent home, in a family environment, to the orphaned or abandoned children we cater for. An SOS Children’s Village will, typically, have 10 -15 family houses. Each family house accommodates up to 10 children, who are placed under the care of an SOS Mother. The SOS Mother is the central pillar in the work of an SOS Children’s Village. Working together with administrators and support staff, she provides for the emotional, physical and academic needs of every child.
4. How do you select the children admitted into SOS Children’s Villages?
A portion of children admitted into SOS Children’s Villages are referred to us by the children’s department in the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs. We also receive referrals from social workers attached to credible community-based NGOs. All potential admissions are carefully reviewed by an ‘admission committee’ to ensure strict compliance with admission policies.
5. Do you admit children of all ages?
To be admitted into an SOS Children’s Village, a child must fall between the ages of 0-10 years. Beyond the age of 10 years, a child would experience difficulties integrating into an SOS Children’s Village. We, therefore, refer such children to other facilities better equipped to handling older children. Originally, the age of admission was capped at 6 years. To fulfill our commitment to keep biological siblings united as much as possible, the age limit has since been raised to 10 years.
6. Do you admit children who are HIV positive?
Yes, SOS Children’s Villages admits children who are HIV positive. SOS Mothers and other support staff undergone continuous professional training to ensure that HIV positive children receive the specialized care they may require. In cases where the needs of a particular child go beyond what SOS Children’s Villages facilities can provide, the child is referred to a suitable agency.
7. How are SOS Children’s Villages funded?
SOS Children’s Villages Tanzania is funded through both local and international sources. A significant percentage of SOS Children’s Villages funding comes from SOS Kinderdorf International – the global umbrella organization to which all SOS Children’s Villages Associations are affiliated. SOS Children’s Villages also receives support from individual sponsors, Tanzanian private sector companies, development partners as well as the Government of Tanzania.
8. Can I as an individual become a supporter of SOS Children’s Villages?
Yes, SOS Children’s Villages depends entirely on contributions from sponsors and supporters to run our facilities. One of our guiding philosophies holds that “many children need many friends”. All contributions, both small and big, would be gratefully welcome. We look forward to counting you as one of our friends.
9. I would like to adopt a child from an SOS Children’s Village. Is this possible?
SOS Children’s Villages provide a permanent home to orphaned and abandoned children. Children under our care cannot under any circumstances be availed for adoption by individuals or foster families. Individuals or parents interested in adopting children are encouraged to contact the Tanzania Children’s Home Adoption Society.
10. What other programmes do you run in addition to SOS children’s homes?
Providing a “loving home for every child” is just but the first step in the life-changing journey an SOS Child experiences. In addition to providing orphaned children with a new family (SOS Mother, brothers and sisters), SOS Children’s Villages are also committed to responding to the educational and health needs of our children. This is achieved through the excellent Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Schools that SOS Children’s Villages typically runs. We provide for the health needs of our children through the 2 state-of-the-art Medical Centres that we run in Arusha and Zanzibar.
We also run Social Centres that empower children and youth through dynamic life skills training programmes. All our facilities are open to both SOS children as well as children and youth from surrounding communities.
11. What is the Family Strengthening Programme that you run?
At SOS Children’s Villages, we believe that a child’s natural family offers the best environment for growth and development. Recognizing that there is a limit to how many children we can admit into our facilities (a typical SOS Children’s Village can accommodate only 150 children), we launched the Family Strengthening Programme to provide support to impoverished or unstable families so that children can benefit from our interventions at the community level. Our Family Strengthening Programmes typically target marginalized low-income families in slum communities around our Children’s Villages.
12. Do your children live in SOS Children’s Villages facilities forever?
SOS Children’s Villages commit to raising orphaned and abandoned children from infancy to independent adulthood. Once a child is admitted into an SOS Children’s Village, we are duty bound to see to it that the individual child receives all the necessary support to attain a stable and successful adulthood. Beneficiaries typically transition out of SOS Children’s Villages at the age of 23 years. By this age, our young men and women have attained all the necessary support to embark on their own life journeys.
13. How do I become an SOS mother?
SOS Mothers play a very crucial role as the primary care-givers in all SOS Children’s Villages. Because they serve as central pillars to our work, providing 24/7 care to our children, it is imperative that they be carefully selected and trained. During the first two (2) years of service, an SOS Mother serves as a Mother Trainee. The 2 year period comprises of a three (3) months of theory training and 21 months practical training. After the successful completion of two (2) years of in-service training, she will be considered to promotion to an SOS Mother on recommendation by the SOS Mother Trainer and upon approval by the National Director.
14. How do I partner with SOS Children’s Villages on a project or programme?
SOS Children’s Villages is open to collaborating with relevant stakeholders to respond to the growing challenges facing vulnerable children in Tanzania. Decisions on which projects or programmes to support are taken on the basis of relevance to our core mandate and values, as well on our assessment of how the proposed project might impact the children under our care. To discuss a project with us please contact the SOS Children’s Villages National Office.
15. Do you run only SOS Children’s Villages?
Because caring for orphaned and abandoned children is our core activity, SOS Children’s Villages remain the defining feature of our work. However, many SOS Children’s Villages worldwide run other facilities designed to give children and youth important educational skills and necessary health care. Almost all SOS Children’s Villages run a Kindergarten, some run SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Secondary Schools, and a few run Medical Centres.