SOS-KINDERDORF INTERNATIONAL is a private, non-governmental and non-denominational organisation entirely funded by private contributions. It is the umbrella organisation of all National SOS Children's Villages Associations.

The purpose of SOS-KINDERDORF INTERNATIONAL is to help orphaned and abandoned children regardless of their race, nationality and religion, by giving them a family, a permanent home and a sound basis for in independent life.

Hermann Gmeiner was the founding father. The idea and the creation of the first SOS Children's Village in Imst in Tyrol, Austria in 1949 grew out of his steadfast conviction that: "We have realised that the present generation of children must be given a chance to grow up happily if they are to secure a worthwhile future for us all." It was not long before SOS Children's Village work took root across the borders in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Finland and Luxembourg. SOS-KINDERDORF INTERNATIONAL was created in 1960 as the umbrella organisation for all the National SOS Children's Villages Associations. After the first SOS Children's Villages had been built outside Europe, the Hermann-Gmeiner-Fonds- Deutschland e.V. was founded in Munich in 1963 in order to fund the SOS Children's Village work world-wide. There are now 18 SOS Promoting and Supporting Associations in Europe and North America. The Hermann-Gmeiner- Fonds-Deutschland e.V. still raises the most funds for international SOS Children's Village work.

FIFA President Dr. João Havelange meets with children from the SOS Children's Village in Quito, Ecuador.
(Photo: FIFA / Alfieri).
The SOS Children's Village idea is based on four prindipals. Each SOS Children's Village Child has a mother and brothers and sisters. Natural siblings are not separated. The SOS Children's Village Family lives in its own house which is part of a village community. In this way, children are also given the feeling of belonging and having a home. These four principles have been proved to work in all cultures and religions.

Message from FIFA President, Dr. João Havelange

The children stay in the village until they are independent and have reached a stage where they are able to support themselves. There are now 343 SOS Children's Villages in 125 countries with over 1000 associated facilities such as SOS Kindergartens, SOS Youth Facilities, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Social Centres and Medical Centres as well as SOS Emergency Relief Programmes. More than 200 000 children and youths are being cared for in SOS Facilities at present.

FIFA joins forces with SOS Children's Villages
The world's largest sports federation, FIFA, is launching a new project in support of the worldwide children's organisation, SOS Children's Villages. [11.12.95]


The privilege of being of a professional footballer is one which few players take for granted. It takes hard work and perseverance to achieve international status, and even more hard work to retain it.

German Star Striker and Ambassador for new project"FIFA for SOS Children's Villages"' Jürgen Klinsmann, with children from the SOS Village in Imst (Austria) at the Munich Olympic Stadium.
(Photo: FIFA / Rauchensteiner).

Among the advantages which such status brings is the opportunity to make a contribution to improvmg things for other people who have not had the same luck in life. And for many of us, that means above all children.

All over the world, children continue to suffer from the excesses of those who are older but not always wiser than themselves. We can all do something, in our own way, to change that.

There are many international organisations working on behalf of children around the world and to help one does not mean to disregard the others. But when FIFA told me of its plans to join forces with SOS Children's Villages, I was happy and proud to agree to give this new project my personal support.

Now the worldwide football family has a new opportunity to work closely and regularly with an organisation which cares for children in 125 countries, regardless of politics or religion, in a project which will use the game itself to bring them special

The possibilities of doing this are endless. It takes a little imagination, a little time, and a little thought.

I'm sure everyone in football has the imagination, time and thought to help us make this new project a success, for the good of the game and especially for the benefit of children all over the world.

Thanks for your support!

Jürgen KIinsmann
FC Bayern Munich and Germany

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