A loving HOME for every child- S.O.S Children’s Village

May 25, 2011 at 12:23 am

"A loving HOME for every child- S.O.S Children’s Village gives an example to follow"

Orphanages and Children’s rescue homes are mushrooming all around us. We often get to see advertisements, donation coupons etc of these institutions. Sometimes we pretend not to see them and at other times we donate some money taking pity on these children. But do we ever bother to see if that amount serves the intended purpose? Have you ever given a thought about a day in the life of a child in those institutions?

Most of us would not have given much thought on this, but a man called Hermann Gmeiner from Austria did. He saw the horrors of the Second World War and was appalled by the condition of homeless children. These circumstances ignited a need in his heart and an idea in his mind to protect such children. Today this organisation, known as SOS Children’s villages is operational in 132 countries across the globe.

Gmeiner knew that a child needed not just food, clothing and shelter and but also 'mother’s love’. He knew that without this, upbringing of a child could never be complete. He started with the first SOS children’s village in Austria with his elder sister being the first SOS mother. An SOS village comprises of around 20 HOMES (not houses) with an SOS mother and 8 to 10 children in each home. What distinguishes this village is of course the presence of a mother for each child-a concept which other such organizations should adopt. Children here live with self respect and dignity. There’s no difference between their home and other children's home who live with their parents.

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru brought the concept of SOS villages to India and at present we have 39 SOS Children’s Villages, not to mention the youth camps, kindergartens, medical care and more ,all under its umbrella.

Having spent 10 days at the SOS children’s village in Thrissur, Kerala, this author is completely in awe of this institution. Children here are actually given homes, complete with a mother and siblings. They go to some of the best schools in the area and not a make-shift arrangement. They can choose to learn any course they want to pursue and S.O.S would help them for that. The educated co-workers in the village would guide them. Till they reach the age of 24, S.O.S would continue to support their child financially. But the emotional bond lasts longer.

We should get into the shoes of an S.O.S mother to know what it is like. To be an S.O.S mother ,one has to be either unmarried or widowed, with no family burdens to bear. She has to undergo two years of rigorous training before she is tested to see if she’s good enough to be an S.O.S mother because it is a lifelong job they are asking for- they are going to be a mother for many little children and it would devastating for them if she leaves them midway.

Mary Varghese has been an SOS mother at Thrissur since its inception. She has been a mother to 28 children so far. She remembers each of them fondly and speaking of them brings tears of joy and pride to her eyes. Her children are today working in varying profiles which include nurses, hotel managers, teachers, social workers to name a few. Children who have grown out of SOS still comes back to visit her, sometimes with their new families. Nothing makes an SOS mother happier than that. And there’s nothing that can make her any more sad than retiring at the age of 60.

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Reshma Raju Emmatty
Student of Journalism

Source: www.soscvindia.org


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