May 15 2017

International Day of Families: Celebrating the impact of a strong family

Every child has a right to a stable, caring and supportive home. However, an estimated 220 million children worldwide have lost parental care or risk losing it because their parents are unable to care for them.  

At SOS Children’s Villages we work with vulnerable families to make them stronger and more resilient to prevent family breakdown. In 2016, we supported more than 490,000 people, or 90,000 families, through family strengthening.

When children can no longer live with their parents, they deserve the best possible quality alternative care. For more than six decades, SOS families have provided a home for children who have lost the care of their parents. More than 58,000 children grew in 571 SOS families in 2016.

But how does a caring family environment affect a child’s life?

Click on the pictures to find out how these lives have been changed.

A family helps overcome limitations

Yola, Owu-Ijebu, Nigeria

Yola* had a difficult start in life. She lost her legs when she was a baby. It was her SOS mother who encouraged her, helping her find a way to make the best out of the challenging situation – and supported her dreams when choosing a career. “She always told me that I must believe in myself and I can become a medical doctor.”
Photo: Stefan Heunis

Family is a strong community

Milan, Sarajevo, Bosnia

“When I was at kindergarten and primary school, my favourite thing was the hug that my mum gave me after a long day. I was a happy child.”
Photo: SOS Archives


Right family support at the right time

Adela, Tirana, Albania

When we first met Adela*, she wanted us to take her children. She said, “I don’t care what happens to me. I will just go off and die, but please take my children so they have a chance in life.” To help prevent separation of the two children from their mother, SOS Children’s Villages started supporting the family. The family has shown great resilience - two years later, Adela and her family have recovered.
Photo: Bo Holmberg

*Name changed for privacy protection

Find out about how we work to provide quality care for children and work to help strengthen families