70 years of impact – April 25 2019

Transforming four million lives since 1949

SOS Children's Villages celebrates today its 70th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we have released '70 Years of Impact', a report that tracks the organisation’s impact on the lives of children and young people through its family-like care and family strengthening services.

The report concludes that SOS Children’s Villages has contributed to transforming four million lives since its founding on 25 April 1949, by supporting children and young people to grow up in a safe and caring family environment.

As these children have grown up in stronger families, thus breaking the cycle of separation and abandonment, their own children and grandchildren also have a better life. This means about 13 million lives will have been positively impacted through the support of SOS Children’s Villages.

The report analyses data from former programme participants, gathered in recent years from 37 of the 135 countries in which SOS Children’s Villages operates. The pool of data also includes comprehensive social impact assessments in 15 countries, based on a rigorous methodology developed by SOS Children’s Villages International and supported by management consultants Boston Consulting Group.

The methodology helps to identify not just numbers of children reached, but how they have actually improved their lives in the long term, and how the community has benefitted as well.

The results show that SOS Children’s Villages has achieved impact in four key ways:

  • “Breaking the cycle” through care – about 90% of former participants have strong family relationships and support networks and care well for their own children.
  • Enabling self-reliance through education and employability – more than 80% of former participants have completed secondary school or vocational training and have the skills to obtain a decent job or are studying towards relevant qualifications.
  • Securing basic needs – 90% of former SOS participants are able to meet most of their basic needs, such as adequate accommodation, food security, and health care.
  • Building a foundation for a happy life – 80% of former participants feel safe and are positive about their lives.

In addition, the methodology includes a calculation of the Social Return on Investment, which represents a financial value of our impact. Given the data collected so far, for every €1 invested in SOS programmes, society receives benefits worth €5.

Importantly, the report also quantifies how the work of SOS Children’s Villages is contributes towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the goals for eliminating poverty, ensuring quality education, providing access to decent work, creating a more equal society, and preventing violence.

Siddhartha Kaul, President of SOS Children’s Villages International, said: “The evidence shared in this report demonstrates that our care services have achieved positive results, reflected in the lives of children we have worked with – both in family-like care and family strengthening.

“Our aim as an organisation is to ensure every child can grow in a secure and loving family,” he continued. “We celebrate that we have achieved this for many children and young people over the past 70 years who have gone on to live successful lives.”

The full report, as well as a shorter booklet version, is available on our 70 Years of Impact page.

Learn more: