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SOS Children’s Villages of India’s Scalable ‘Family Like Care’ Model Bags United Way’s Social Innovation Award 2020-21

SOS Children’s Villages of India, the largest child care NGO of its kind in the country, has bagged the Social Innovation Award 2021 from United Way of Hyderabad (UWH), a non-profit volunteer-led organisation, under the Game Changer category, for its flagship Children’s Villages project, a scalable ‘Family-Like Care’ intervention, creating long-term impact on the lives of children without parental care.

Established in 1964, SOS Children’s Villages of India is currently raising about 7,000 children (0-25 years) without parental care in loving homes with mothers, brothers, and sisters –12-15 such homes located within secure campuses (Children’s Villages). The project is operational at present in 32 locations in 22 states and one union territory.

UWH has instituted the Social Innovations Award to recognize the best of the projects of corporates and NGOs in education, health & wellbeing, financial stability, and environment in India. The jury of the Award for 2021 comprised board members of UWH, members of academia, and professionals of Ernst & Young, auditing & consulting firm.

The citation reads that SOS Children’s Villages of India “has committed itself to bring about long-term sustainable change in the Care and Wellness sector at a scale”. It also acknowledges that the NGO has “built and supported models to respond to the long-term as well as emergent needs of the most vulnerable populations, to build healthy and self-dependent generations”. 

Commenting about winning the award, Mr. Sumanta Kar, Senior National Deputy Director, SOS Children’s Villages of India, said “the Award serves as a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation for the entire team at his organisation. He added that the primary objective of Family Like Care is to de-institutionalise child care for children without parental care, and provide a family environment for them to grow up with love, respect and security.

Each SOS Children’s Village typically has about 12-15 family homes – and every home raises around 8-10 children. Every child is looked after by an SOS Mother, a trained childcare professional, who lives with the children and builds a long term emotional relationship, enabling children to develop their full potential, transforming and molding their lives till they become self-supporting and contributing members of the society. The children grow up surrounded by siblings and family ties, learning the values of mutual help and sharing, in a community they can call their own.”

About SOS Children’s Villages of India

For the last 56 years, SOS Children’s Villages of India has been protecting the best interests of children who are without parental care or at the risk of losing one. It provides them a loving home, helps keep their families together, and supports the youth on their path to self-reliance. Since the inauguration of the first SOS Children’s Village at Faridabad by in 1964, the organisation has spread across the country. Today, over 7,000 children live in 440 family homes inside 32 SOS Villages in 22 states/UTs, from Srinagar to Kochi and Bhuj to Shillong. They are lovingly cared for and nurtured by 600 SOS Mothers and Aunts.

As India’s largest self-implementing childcare NGO, SOS Children’s Villages directly touches the lives of around 25,000 children every year. Additionally, it indirectly benefits thousands of vulnerable children every year through a range of innovative and comprehensive childcare solutions to ensure that no child of any age grows up alone. The interventions range from short-term (of a few weeks/months) to long-term after-care programmes (till the children are 23 years old and self-reliant). These are carefully customised for each child to perfectly suit his or her needs.

SOS Children’s Villages’ “Family Like Care” programme is a curative model that provides loving homes in one of its Children’s Villages to children without parental care. Its “Family Strengthening Programme” is a preventive model that intervenes in vulnerable families (widows, single mothers, below poverty line, etc.) living in vicinity of Children’s Villages for preventing ‘at risk’ children from losing parental care. This is done by upholding family income and awareness generation through women empowerment and capacity building.

SOS Children’s Villages of India has always moved deftly to answer the call of the children in need in many natural and man-made disasters. It also advocates for influencing stakeholders as well as inform public opinion on policies and legislation concerning the rights of millions of children and young people, who are deprived of quality care.

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