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February, 2005 - Nr. 2


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SOS for Children


Rachel A.I. SeilernDear Reader,

In light of the Tsunami disaster in South East Asia, I thought it would be important for you to know about a special organization that is busy helping thousands of orphaned children and devastated families rebuild their lives: The organization is called S.O.S Children’s villages.

Hermann Gmeiner with Brazilian SOS Children

Hermann Gmeiner founded S.O.S Villages in Imst, Austria in 1949 to care for children orphaned during World War II. Today S.O.S Children’s Villages has grown to become one of the world’s largest children’s social development organizations that provides essential help to more than 50,000 children and their families within 125 countries around the world! After reading much about the SOS system and having talked with several people who either work in SOS villages or were raised in one such village, I am quite impressed with what I’ve learned. What makes SOS villages different from foster care is that a child is given an "SOS mother" (who has had extensive training) and up to nine brothers and sisters who are kept together to ensure the child’s sense of security. (Natural siblings, as well, are never separated). The SOS family lives in a home within a village of between 10 and 15 other SOS homes. The village, complete with social centers and training centers, a clinic, a kindergarten and a school, is a small community----an extended family that fosters the children’s own culture and religion.

Right now, orphans in South East Asia desperately need the help of an organization such as SOS Children’s Villages. On a recent Oprah show, she featured former Latin pop star Ricky Martin and his new line of work: saving homeless children from exploitation. After his trip to Thailand, he brought back heart-wrenching reports of the situation facing the children orphaned due to the Tsunami. Not only are they homeless, of course job-less, and without any kind of security, guidance and love, they are in danger of being kidnapped into slavery of every kind. (Children are reportedly being taken from the hospitals by criminals dressed as doctors.) Safe homes are needed now! S.O.S Children’s Villages does have 48 villages located throughout the Tsunami-ravaged countries of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India, but the employees and volunteers there are working against all odds to expand in order to accommodate the hundreds of orphans pouring in. SOS Children’s Villages’ incredibly vital and worthwhile cause is only supported by donations.

We, the Forget-me-nots, have been involved with SOS Children’s Villages in some way or other since 1999. But finally this past Christmas, I and a few of my friends became a sponsor of an S.O.S village. (I already received my first letter about the village in the mail, which included a picture of one of the families!!) It feels fantastic to be contributing in even a small way to improving the lives of children. If you are interested in supporting SOS, call Canada’s representative in Ottawa, Dave Greiner at 1-800-767-5111. For more information on SOS Children’s Villages check out www.soschildrensvillages.ca

Rachel A.I. Seilern


Comments to: rachel@echoworld.com


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