Sustainable future for children


What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In September 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to a 15-year plan of action aimed at improving the lives of people, protecting the planet, and building prosperity. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, guarantee access to quality education and decent work, and tackle climate change.

The SDGs and us

SOS Children’s Villages works with partners and states to achieve the SDG targets with the greatest impact for disadvantaged children and young people.

We are committed to working for and with children who have lost, or risk losing, parental care. These children are particularly vulnerable to suffering injustice and often miss out on their basic rights as children. The quality of childhood sets the stage for the future development of individuals and societies. 

With 70 years of expertise in partnering with states to ensure that children’s rights are met, SOS Children’s Villages is committed to taking action to contribute to building a sustainable future for children. 

The following SDGs are central to our strategy and our everyday work to ensure that all children benefit from the SDGs.

Goal 1 – End poverty

Creating a world without poverty is one of the main goals of the SDGs. Poverty can lead to long-term disadvantages for children. It can also lead to family instability or even family breakdown.  Under-resourced households, where basic needs cannot be met, are often exposed to high levels of stress, and with a lack of adequate social protection, the risk of family separation increases.

SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities in building their capacity and resilience to help break the cycle of poverty and exclusion and to prevent family breakdown and separation. Together with partners, we strengthen and empower families through a range of activities, including skills building and income generation, access to decent work, access to healthcare, and family counselling.

When children can no longer live with their parents, we provide quality alternative care. We support each child in our programmes in their individual development and support them in their preparation for independence and a sustainable future.

Nationally and internationally, we advocate for children’s rights, including child-sensitive and inclusive social protection for all and adequate support for vulnerable families.

Goal 4 – Ensure quality education for all

Every child and young person has a right to quality education, regardless of their background. Globally, some 263 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 were out of school in 2015 [1]. Children and young people without parental care or in emergency situations often face additional challenges when trying to access educational opportunities.

Every child and young person receiving support from SOS Children’s Villages is helped to access education – from nursery school right up to vocational training or university. From early on, we work to provide child-centred education in inclusive learning environments to help develop each child’s or young person’s skills and capabilities.

Through partnerships and advocacy, we strengthen public education, and we empower communities and parents to develop educational programmes and support. During humanitarian emergencies, we offer safe places where children can learn and play.

Goal 8 – Create equal job opportunities for all

SOS Children’s Villages supports young people without parental care in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the job market, gain decent work and transition to a self-sufficient life as an adult. We support young people to prepare for independence, helping them gain access to higher education, training, mentorships and internships through initiatives such as YouthCan!, the global partnership for youth employability.

Youth unemployment is a global challenge affecting young people around the world. In 2016, 71 million young people were out of work. Over 150 million young people in emerging and developing countries live in poverty despite having a job [2].

When parents are unemployed or working in unstable or poorly paid jobs, their ability to take care of their children is impaired. They may not be able to provide for their children, and children may be left without supervised care, which can affect the health, development and safety of these children.

We also help parents from vulnerable families access vocational training, so they can find decent work and give their children a brighter future.

Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

No one should suffer from discrimination, or be denied equal access to opportunities on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, culture or family background. Children and young people who lack an attentive caregiver to protect and guide them are less likely to have their rights met, such as education, health care, citizenship and protection. They run a higher risk of experiencing social exclusion, poverty and other forms of inequality.

SOS Children’s Villages advocates for laws and practices that ensure equal opportunities, social inclusion and protection, and non-discrimination for children and young people who have lost their parents or come from marginalised households. We aim to help break the cycle of poverty and exclusion so that future generations can be active and equal participants in society.

Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies

All children must be protected from violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect. Yet up to 25% of the world’s adult population report that they experienced physical violence as children [3].

Violence is also a major risk factor for children being removed from their family. At the same time, children who are separated from their family are at a higher risk of experiencing violence – they are easy targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation.  

SOS Children's Villages works to safeguard and protect all children. We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of care in our programmes. Additionally, we build awareness about child abuse and neglect and advocate for improved protection for all children. We strengthen families to help prevent violence against children, teaching parenting skills and positive discipline techniques. We train care professionals in how to uphold and implement children’s rights in their work and fulfil quality standards in caring for children and young people.

[1] UNESCO Institute for Statistics Policy Paper 27/Fact Sheet 37: Leaving no one behind: How far on the way to universal primary and secondary education?.
[2] ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2016.
[3] WHO Fact Sheet °150 'Child Maltreatment'.


Care for Children is Care for Development