The first SOS Children’s Village was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Tyrol, Austria, in 1949.


in 1949

SOS Children’s Villages is founded in Austria by Hermann Gmeiner, with the first SOS Children’s Village-based in Imst, Austria.

In 1955

The first SOS Youth Facility is established in Innsbruck, Austria. SOS Children’s Villages associations are founded in FranceGermany and Italy.

In 196os

SOS Children’s Villages International is established as the umbrella organization for all SOS Children’s Villages associations; SOS Children´s Villages begins working in Latin America, starting with Uruguay.

In 1963

The first SOS Children’s Villages in Asia are established in South Korea and India.

In 1970s

First African SOS Children’s Village is built in Côte d’Ivoire; first programmes are started in Ghana, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.

In 1985

Helmut Kutin succeeds Hermann Gmeiner as President of SOS Children’s Villages International.

In 1986

Hermann Gmeiner dies on 26 April 1986, having established around 230 SOS Children’s Villages all over the world. Both SOS Children’s Villages and Hermann Gmeiner himself have been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1989

SOS Children’s Villages opens in Uganda with Kakiri as the first location.

In 1991

SOS Children’s Villages reopens in Czechoslovakia, and the first SOS Children’s Villages in Poland and the Soviet Union are started; SOS Children´s Villages programmes are started in Bulgaria and Romania; the first SOS Children’s Village in the USA is founded.

In 1995

SOS Children’s Villages International achieves UN status, becoming an “NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

In 2002

SOS Children’s Villages International receives the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize for extraordinary contributions towards alleviating human suffering.

In 2003

SOS Children´s Villages Family Strengthening Programmes are established.

In 2005

Following the tsunami disaster in Asia, SOS Children’s Villages starts the largest emergency relief and reconstruction programme in the organization’s history, with programmes in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand.

In 2007

SOS Children’s Villages helps victims of natural disasters in Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru and Uruguay, as well as those displaced in the crisis-torn regions of Sudan, Chad and Somalia; SOS family strengthening programmes now reach 80,000 children.

In 2009

The 500th SOS Children’s Village is opened and the organisation turns 60. More than 73,400 children and young people have stable homes and better childhoods through SOS Children’s Villages homes and youth facilities in 132 countries and territories. More than 1.2 million children and adults benefit from different SOS Children´s Villages social services, including family strengthening programmes, schools, vocational training centres, medical centres, and emergency relief programmes. The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, to which SOS Children’s Villages significantly contributed, are officially welcomed by the UN General Assembly.

In 2010

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, over 500 unaccompanied children were given a temporary home in the SOS Children’s Villages in Santo and Cap Haitien. Thousands of Haitian children were fed through the SOS Children´s Villages’ emergency nutrition programme.

In 2012

In June, SOS Children’s Villages International held its 19th General Assembly and elected Siddhartha Kaul to succeed Helmut Kutin as president.

In 2013

Over 82,000 children and youth were being raised and cared for in 554 SOS Children’s Villages and over 600 SOS Youth Facilities worldwide. Another 328,000 children and adults benefitted from SOS family strengthening programmes.

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