Hermann Gmeiner was born in 1919, on June the 23rd, Austria in the peasant’s family. In early age he had lost his mother. After the Second World War, while exploring the medicine in Innsbruck University he realized the hard condition of many orphaned and homeless children and was convinced that in order to support these children they should be received real family warmth. In 1949 he founded the first “SOS-Kid’s village” in Imst. Later this idea took its way out of the Austria’s borders and today in 132 countries exists 350 “SOS- Kid’s village”.
In 1960 was founded “SOS Kinderdorf International” organization. It took its patronage “SOS- Kid’s village” associations already working in all the countries.Hermann Gmeiner died in 1986, in Innsbruck. His body is buried in first SOS village i.e. in Imst. He passed away from this life but his work is going on till now.In 1988 after the destroying earthquake, with the initiative of “SOS Kinderdorf International” association, similar village was founded in Armenia more exactly in Kotayk region’s Kotayk village and it had started its activity since 1990.
“SOS Kid’s village” Armenian Charitable Fund is non profitable and non-governmental organization which pursues the aim of supporting the parentless children without paying attention to their ethnic and religion belonging.
In SOS family live 6-8 children of different sexes and ages. They grow up together as sisters and brothers keeping family traditions. Each child gets a mother who gives her/she love and protection. Each SOS-family has its cozy and convenient home. SOS-Kid’s village rise cultural roots and keeps connection with the outer world. SOS-Family is a part of society. SOS Kid’s village has its comfortable and modern kindergarten where attend the kids of neighboring villages.
“SOS Kid’s village” accepts children of 9 years old, double-sided or one side parentless children or children being deprived of the parents with different reasons. They accept also children already completed 9 years in the case of being accompanied with sisters and brothers if the latest mentioned are less than 9 years old.
“SOS Kid’s village” doesn’t give temporary shelter to these children but carries out longtime responsibility for them. Children’s parents or relatives can pay a visit to them. But if they want to take the child with them for a short time they should represent corresponding application. There are 17 volunteers who organize interesting and amusing events for the children. For entering “SOS Kid’s village” and becoming independent there exists 4 periods:
- “SOS Kid’s village” – here children stay up to 14-16 years old.
- Young community – the youngsters move here and stay for 3-4 years. The initial and most important purpose of this period is to give opportunity them to get a profession and their future independent development.
- Half-independent period – after getting profession the association supports them to find constant job and home.
- Accompaniment – in this period the organization continues to follow the youngsters’ future successes and if there is need they give moral support and help.
“Today’s children are the guarantee of worthy future. That’s why they should live and grow up in happy and careless circumstances”.