SOS Children in Suriname

Sponsorship sites in Suriname

Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Guiana, is a small republic in the north-east of South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, French Guiana, Brazil and Guyana. The total population is 415,000 with over half residing in the capital city of Paramaribo. Its population is ethnically and religiously diverse with many different languages spoken, including Dutch; a legacy of colonialisation by the Netherlands which ended in 1975. In 1980 an attempted military coup occurred, which in turn led to the eruption of guerrilla warfare. It took over ten years for the political situation to become stable and return to a level of normality.

Four decades ago, a group called the "Soroptimist Club Paramaribo” was set up to help families living in poverty and provide for the many orphaned and abandoned children in Suriname. This group included Irma Eugenie Klein, Esseliene Juliette Polanen, Esther Helouise Zwakke and Elwine Florine Oostvriesland. They took it upon themselves to introduce the concept of SOS Children's Villages to Suriname. In 1972 they formed the SOS Children's Village Foundation of Surinam, and in 1977 the SOS Children's Village Paramaribo opened to families in need. SOS Children’s Village Paramaribo had the capacity to care for 75 children at one time and facilities included:

  • Ten houses

  • Four classroom Kindergarten with a capacity of 95 children

  • Aunts’ house

  • Community building

  • Administration and service area

  • Small playground

  • SOS Youth facility

  • One house for boys

There were two houses used as an SOS Youth Facility, where the youths lived until they are able to stand on their own two feet. Over the years, SOS Children's Village Paramaribo was renovated and enlarged. For example, the SOS nursery school was built and was opened to the SOS Children's Village children as well as children in the wider community. There was one SOS Children's Village in Suriname, one SOS Youth Facility and one SOS Kindergarten, but these have now closed as the number of orpahaned children in this area has thankfully decreased.

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