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General information on SOS Children: Why choose this children's charity?

Ecuador Sponsored Child smiles

SOS Children is an international charity that helps children with absolutely nowhere else to turn. We are a charity that stays long after the TV cameras have left and helps children until they are able to help themselves. SOS Children looks after children who have lost their parents: through war, famine, disease or poverty. The charity cares for street children, AIDS orphans, child soldiers and other children who have nothing and no-one.

SOS Children can be cost effective because it has the best of both worlds. It is a UK charity, which is also a member of an international network of SOS associations.

SOS Children is a UK registered charity based in Cambridge. Our board of trustees is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of every penny sent from the UK.

However, as part of SOS-Kinderdorf International, one of the world's largest and most respected charity groups, the charity avoids high project overhead costs; supervision, audit and international costs are shared across more than 130 member associations.

If you wish, you can make a restricted donation which will be passed in its entirety to a specific project or village. Our charity's administration and other overheads are more than covered by unrestricted donations and tax recovered from those who have agreed to Gift Aid their donations.

It is often difficult to know how to help children, who are alone and in need of support, but live so far away, and impractical to bring them all to us!

For more than fifty years as the world's largest orphan charity, SOS Children has developed an approach based on building a community for children who really have no-one and on using this community as a centre for helping others. The charity provides homes, families and new mothers in a group of houses. This central community of between ten and fifteen new families of up to ten children each can then act as a focal point for other community needs: a local nursery or primary school for the wider local community, a medical and social centre, perhaps a disabled centre and sometimes other small community projects.

Indian schoolgirl

Since many of our communities are built in some of the poorest and most vulnerable areas, to help support the orphaned children in the area, we are often best placed to takle both emergencies and ongoing social problems when they strike.

Recently the sheer (actual and prospective) numbers of parentless families, where parents have died of HIV/AIDS, has meant that SOS Children has started "outreach" support, where a helper or nurse from a village will visit local child-led families in-situ two or three times a week with food, medicine and a little money. Some of the children we visit are as young as eight years old with several younger brothers or sisters and no adult for them anywhere except us (see Aids Africa Projects). These projects provide a massive increase in quality of life for children, and costs less than £10 a month per child.

Angolan sponsored child

In total we have more than 60,000 children in our care in 450 villages around the world. In addition we also support nearly one million more orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children and their families through hundreds of schools, skills training centres, social support programmes and medical centres. SOS Children is a "long term" charity.

When we take on children we typically look after them until they have grown independent. The main exceptions to this are where we manage to reunite children with their family when war has separated them (for example child soldiers and children in post-civil war Rwanda).

See also About Child Sponsorship.

Meet with us, talk with us

In the UK, you can contact us at:

SOS Children's Villages
St Andrew's House
59 St Andrew's St

Tel: 01223 365589


Registered charity number: 1069204

Our Chief Executive is Andrew Cates

Our Trustees are:

Mary Cockcroft (Chairman)
Michael Brewer
David Clifford
Ulf Larsen
Michael Riding
David Stranack
Earl of St Andrews
Peter Voelker

Please note: David Clifford's name as an SOS trustee is currently being used by email scammers trying to defraud people. He does not recruit for the charity and is not in any way connected with the emails.

We are happy to talk to anyone about our work or about ways in which you might be able to help.
If you are around Cambridge you are welcome to drop in.

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