Strong parents

strong children

















Parents are the most important source of love, well-being, trust and encouragement for their children. They play a leading role in guiding and supporting their daughters and sons until they can lead independent lives and, in many cases, this support continues well into adulthood.

When parents live in vulnerable circumstances or experience extreme hardship, they may not be able to care for and protect their children. Sometimes families break down, and as a result, children may need to be taken into alternative care.

With the right support and encouragement parents can build on their strengths, skills and knowledge to improve their family’s situation and create a stable and caring family environment for their children. Investing in parents can be an effective tool to prevent families from falling apart. 

We invest in families in countries all around the world.

More about SOS family strengthening



Believing in parents

We work with parents or other family members who have taken on the role of a child's primary caregiver so they can become self-reliant. Self-reliance means that parents are able to adequately care for and protect their children, from early childhood until independent adulthood.



Family stories

Some of the committed and courageous parents we are supporting in different countries around the world are sharing their stories. Learn more about how family strengthening support has made a real difference in the lives of families.

Growing as parents and as a family

Dayana had her son when she was only 14 years old. Being a teenage mother was not easy for her, and the relationship with Joel, her son’s father, also became strained. Without the help of her own mother, she would not have been able to continue her education.

Today, Dayana is a professional cosmetologist. She has even stepped up to take on a leading role in her community as president of the community centre where she lives. To help her reach her goals and give the best possible home to her son, Dayana and her boyfriend Joel enrolled in the SOS family strengthening programme in Arequipa, Peru.



Skills and a stable income

On the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, there is a residential area known as Chaisa. Chaisa is a low-income neighbourhood characterised by tiny, closely-built concrete houses. Tucked in one corner of the local shopping centre is a small shop called S&J new fashions.

Sherapy Phiri, 32, works here every day, tailoring and designing clothes for men and women. Without education, the mother of two girls struggled to make ends meet. Gaining vocational skills through SOS Children’s Villages Zambia has allowed her to earn an income, which she hopes will give her daughters a better future than her own.



"I did not complete primary school, because my parents could not afford to pay my fees beyond grade seven," Shirapy recalls. 

"Shortly after dropping out of school, I got married. Life was tough for us without a stable income. I worked in a salon braiding hair, but my real interest was in sewing. I looked forward to the day that I would learn to sew and open my own place, but that dream was fading."

Sherapy applied for a tailoring course at the SOS vocational training centre in Lusaka and things began to change. 

"I would like my children to get a good education and have more opportunities than me," she says. "One of my daughters says she wants to be a teacher, and the other one wants to become a doctor. I want to help them achieve their dreams."

Stability after a crisis

Anne, her husband Oleg and her 12-year-old son Vladimir* left the conflict-stricken area of Luhansk, Ukraine, in 2014. Although they left the unrest far behind, they did not find the peaceful life they had hoped for.

The relocation put a lot of strain on the family, as it did on thousands of others who fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Unemployment, limited household resources and the lack of a community network in their new place affected both the parents and the son emotionally. Through individualised support for all family members, they started to recover.

(*Names changed for privacy protection)

Women empowering women

Edilia and her family live in Santa Cruz del Quiché, an area in Guatemala where over 80% of the population is indigenous. People from indigenous descent experience many disadvantages in Guatemala, which makes children and families particularly vulnerable to challenges such as malnutrition, poverty, poor education and inequality.

In such a context, women and children are often particularly likely to face exclusion and a lack of opportunities.

Edilia has seen the difference the support from SOS family strengthening has made for her family. To give something back to her community, she has started to help other women to learn how to read and write.

SOS Children's Villages supports families in Guatemala through activities that help curb malnutrition in the communities as well as through family development workshops, early childhood development activities, access to literacy classes and educational activities to empower community leaders and foster communities’ organisational skills.

Ensuring basic needs are met

In the sprawling township of Philippi in Cape Town, South Africa, each day is a struggle for the very basic of needs. Nearly one million families live here in small iron sheet shacks. In this impoverished community, HIV and AIDS prevalence is high, and young people are suffering alcoholism, unemployment, violence and drug abuse. Dropping out of school prematurely is a way of life.

Making a living in this township is not easy. People in Philippi typically do manual work, some run small businesses selling alcohol or vegetables, sewing, or washing cars. Most hardly make enough for their families to survive on.

In this area, SOS Children’s Villages South Africa works to strengthen families such as Nyalela’s, a grandmother who has assumed the role of the primary caregiver for three grandchildren. The aim is to improve the living standards of poor families through basic needs support and ensure that children have access to essential services like education, food and health.