SOS Children's Villages UK

SOS Children's Villages UK, is a child sponsorship charity based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. It is part of the international group SOS Children's Villages – the largest international charity group dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children. The charity is registered under the working names "SOS Children" and "World Orphan Week" (a fundraising event held once a year) with the Charity Commission.

SOS Children's Villages UK
Founded1963 (1963), Lavender Hill, London, United Kingdom
Registration no.1069204
FocusAlternative care for children who cannot live with their parents
Area served

Internationally, SOS Children's Villages works in 134 countries and territories, of which it provides services in 125. Its slogan is "A loving home for every child". Programmes include SOS Children's Villages which are communities that offer a new family home for orphaned and abandoned children, and family strengthening services which foster community development and help to prevent child abandonment.[1] The charity is non-denominational and works in the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since 1995, SOS Children's Villages has worked with the United Nations to help governments and organisations support children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care. In 2009, the charity worked with other experts to develop the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.[2]

In 1969 chairman of SOS Children's Villages UK, Dickson Mabon attempted to arrange the construction of Children's Villages in Scotland. However, he was refused permission to build the Villages on planning grounds by the local authorities concerned.[3]

Supporters and Ambassadors

Supporters include Stephen Hawking, Alexander McCall Smith, Anyika Onuora, Richard Attenborough, Kate Humble and Wayne Rooney.[4]

International Ambassador, as of April 2014, is Belgian footballer Vincent Kompany.[5]

Angelina Jolie is a long-term supporter and has visited SOS Children's Villages in Haiti, Ethiopia and Jordan.[6]

Nelson Mandela was a supporter of SOS Children's Villages work in South Africa and officially opened the SOS Children's Village in Cape Town.[7] Upon his death in December 2013, SOS Children's Villages joined in memorials to celebrate his life. The Dalai Lama supports SOS Children, particularly the SOS Children's Villages in North India, which provide a home for child refugees from Tibet.

World Orphan Week

In 2005 SOS Children's Villages UK founded World Orphan Week (WOW), a campaign which runs annually. The project aims to raise awareness about the large number of children missing one or both parents around the world. The campaign works with schools, universities, individuals, companies, and community groups to hold events on a local and national scale to raise awareness and funds for the organisation.

In 2018 World Orphan Week will be held on 3–10 February.

Our Africa

In 2011 SOS Children's Villages UK created a new web site "Our Africa"[8] which won the New Media category of the One World Media Awards.[9] Our Africa is an educational site with many short videos and articles created to celebrate 40 years of SOS Children's Villages work in Africa. Many of the videos are devised and filmed by children across Africa.

Wikipedia for Schools

Since 2006, SOS Children's Villages UK has produced an offline selection from Wikipedia, based around the UK national curriculum and targeted at a school-age audience. The project was initially aimed at schools in the developing world, where internet access is often limited, but has also proved popular in developed countries as well. This is partly because all content is checked to ensure suitability for children and relevance to the classroom, making it safe for use in schools. As well as being an offline resource available on request, it is also available online. It was last updated in 2013.


Current trustees are Mary Cockcroft (Chairman), George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, Michael Brewer, Graham Budd, Ayesha Khan, Matthew de Villiers, and Thomas Bauer.


  1. About Us
  2. "UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children". Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  3. "J Dickson Mabon". 13 April 2008. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  4. "Our Ambassadors". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  5. Vincent Kompany joins SOS Children as International Ambassador
  6. AngelinaJolieUNHCR (11 February 2010), Angelina Jolie Visited Haiti SOS Children's Villages 2010, retrieved 5 June 2019
  7. SOS Children's Village Cape Town
  8. Our Africa web site: Children across Africa have made films to show you what life is like in their own countries.
  9. "One World Media:Awards 2012". Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
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