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SOS-Kinderdorf an idea goes around the world
SOS-Kinderdorf an idea goes around the world

History of SOS Children's Villages

For over 70 years we have been active worldwide

The idea for SOS Children’s Villages was born in 1949 in the Tyrol and now forms an arc stretching across the entire world – across 138 countries, all religions, cultures and societies!

How it all began...

On April 25, 1949 a group of dedicated men and women led by Hermann Gmeiner, a medical student from Vorarlberg in Austria, formed the “Societas Socialis” in Innsbruck. With their social and innovative idea, which was revolutionary at the time, they laid the foundation for the development of SOS Children’s Villages, thereby creating an important stimulus in the care of children and adolescents: instead of keeping children unwanted by society in anonymous homes and reform schools, they should grow up within the protection and security of a family!

Is SOS Children's Villages still needed after 70 years? Yes! Because despite many positive improvements, millions of children and young people still have to grow up alone, abandoned, without education and in poverty.

Today, SOS Children's Villages is represented in 138 countries and operates more than 570 SOS Children's Villages and over 2700 other programs in child and youth care and family strengthening.

Learn more about the beginnings and the development of SOS Children’s Villages in this short film. (5 minutes)