On December 8, few of the CSA volunteers visited an organisation within our city called the SOS village. A canopy of bougainvilleas welcomed us to what seemed to be a calm and serene atmosphere. As we experienced this tranquil, a few children came running towards us, who, we later learned, were the inmates of this village. They are called SOS children and they lived and studied in the village. We segregated ourselves into smaller groups and visited a few families.
There are 156 children living in the SOS village in Bangalore. In India, there are 40 SOS villages. The mother organization is in Austria. The main objective of an SOS village is to provide a shelter for the children who were victims of natural calamities and those whose parents did not have sufficient income to bring them up. They also receive children from various other backgrounds.
An SOS village is neither an adoption centre nor a foster care. It is a cluster of artificial families. Here the children live with their foster mothers. A family here consists of eight to ten children who live with their foster mother. The basic concept of SOS, is to provide children with the motherly care and support them. The children here identify themselves with their foster mothers.
It was indeed a thought provoking experience for us volunteers. In short, the concept of a children’s village as a shelter is a radical shift from the age old concept of orphanages.
Article by Anupama