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SOS Bethlehem, Palestine

18 Nov

Having my Palestinian father here with me made this SOS visit extra special!  We toured the school, meet with the SOS Children’s Villages Graduates Association, and visited families benefiting from SOS’s Family Strengthening Programme… and to bring on the smiles, we brought the famous performer Rony to entertain at the village!

You can watch all the fun on my youtube channel Living Borderless

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SOS Children’s Villages has been very active in Arab countries and has been present in the Middle East and North Africa for over 40 years. The countries of operation include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Tunisia, and the Palestinian Territories (Gaza and the West Bank). There are over 90 facilities (children’s villages; youth facilities; kindergartens; schools; vocational training centres; social centres and medical centres, as well as family strengthening programmes and emergency relief programmes – providing assistance to nearly 17,000 beneficiaries across the region.

In Middle-East and North Africa, needs are unfortunately increasing and SOS Children’s Villages has established the SOS Children’s Villages Arab Fund (hereafter referred to as the “SOS Arab Fund”) to raise awareness and establish partnerships with institutions, corporations and individuals in order to support and extend its activities in Arab countries.

For more information, please contact the SOS Children’s Villages Arab Fund:  sos.arabfund@sos-kd.org


SOS Family Strengthening Programme

The best way to care for an orphaned or abandoned child is to help them and their families before they become orphaned or abandoned.  That is what the family strengthening programs work to do: To act preventatively and spare children the trauma, heartache and psychological devastation that comes with losing a parent and family.

Parents living in poverty and faced with a crisis often lack the resources and ability to cope with the situation. Their ability to care for their children is compromised or impossible. Many families lack essentials like money to pay for their groceries, doctor’s and school fees. Their health and confidence suffer in the long run.

Through SOS’s family strengthening programmes they hope to empower families help themselves and create a better future; a future where they are independent and self-sufficient

SOS Children’s Villages is convinced that it is always best for children to grow up in families. Millions of children across the world have already lost the protection of their families, and SOS is working to prevent more from suffering the same loss. Poverty, disease, violence, natural disasters and armed conflicts mean that every day there are more children who are at risk of being abandoned, neglected and/or abused, making family strengthening programs a vital and growing part of our work.

SOS Children’s Villages works with communities and local partners collaboratively to provide support for disadvantaged families around the world. Its family strengthening programmes are oriented according to local circumstances towards specific hi-risk target groups such as single mothers, families that have been affected by HIV/AIDS or families with financial problems that are often linked to addiction, illness and exclusion.

SOS Bethlehem started FSP in the West Bank in 2005 and has continued to expand every year, offering its services to more children.  Currently FSP in the West Bank works in both the Bethlehem and Khalil districts with a total of 840 children making up 201 families.  An additional 40 children were added this year, as opposed to the usual 200 as a result of the financial crisis.  This year a total of 13 families graduated from the programme after being able to self-sustain.

Volunteers received increased support from the new FSP Coordinator.  Three families received micro-credit loans through a partnership with the YMCA.  Caregivers were offered training, workshops, and vocational support in order to work toward self-sustainability.

For increased mobility the SOS Medical Centre Bethlehem was set up inside a container. It can easily be put on an articulated vehicle and taken to other places. Thus, help can be given where it is needed most. Inside the container, there is a simple doctor’s office and a small laboratory. About 4000 patients get treatment at the SOS Medical Centre per year.

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SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, Mombasa, Kenya

1 Nov

Welcome to the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in  Mombasa, Kenya.

SOS Children’s Villages places central value on education and works to provide educational assistance to children growing up in children’s villages, those participating in any form of the family strengthening programme, and all vulnerable children and young people in the communities they work in.

Check out the video of my visit to the school on my youtube channel LivingBorderless

or on my Facebook page Yasmene Salhia Around the World.

I hope you ‘like’ it!

Check out the video of my visit to the school on my youtube channel LivingBorderless

or on my Facebook page Yasmene Salhia Around the World.

I hope you ‘like’ it!

SOS Children’s Village, Cape Town

11 Oct

A day in the life of an SOS mother …

Watch it on LivingBorderless or Facebook

Thank you SOS Cape Town for a making me feel so welcome.  I will be posting more video of my time spent in the Kindergarten and an interview with the principal.  I hope the books I donated to the school puts a SMILE on the faces of the children.

SOS Children’s Villages International helps more than 2000 facilities and operates in 132 countries around the world.

To learn more about how you can help, click here.


Aldeas Infantiles, Lujan, Buenos Aires

6 Sep

Aldeas Infantiles SOS es una organización no gubernamental, internacional, de ayuda al desarrollo que trabaja desde 1949 para cubrir las necesidades de los niños y defender sus intereses y derechos. Los niños que carecen del cuidado parental o que viven una situación familiar difícil son nuestra prioridad en 132 países y territorios.

La Aldea Infantil SOS Luján está situada en la ciudad del mismo nombre en la provincia argentina de Buenos Aires, a unos 67 kilómetros al oeste de la capital. Esta ciudad cuenta con unos 100.000 habitantes y se encuentra, a unos 30 metros del nivel del mar, a orillas del río Luján. La población se dedica principalmente a la agricultura, y especialmente a la ganadería, así como a la industria y, en, menor medida, al comercio. Un factor económico importante es el turismo, especialmente el del gran número de peregrinos que visitan la estatua de Nuestra Señora de Luján, en la basílica del mismo nombre.

Cada vez más personas de los alrededores de Luján se trasladan a la ciudad en busca de trabajo y de mejores condiciones de vida. Pero, en realidad, con relativa frecuencia las esperanzas y los sueños no se realizan; y muchos padres y madres solas de pronto no pueden cuidar de sus hijos sin ayuda extra. Debido a que los centros estatales no podían paliar toda la necesidad, decidió crearse una Aldea Infantil SOS en Luján.

La Aldea Infantil SOS se construyó en un terreno del distrito Americano, donde los habitantes viven en condiciones muy modestas. La Aldea Infantil SOS consta de 14 casas familiares, la casa del director de la aldea y una casa para las llamadas tías SOS (ayudantes de las madres SOS en su trabajo diario o futuras madres SOS en formación, y que las reemplazan si están enfermas o tienen que salir).

Tuve un día maravilloso con los niños en Luján. Me los llevé libros para su biblioteca y se divertían con mi pelo, haciendo peinados locos! y sacando fotos con mi cámara.  Para saber más sobre cómo puede ayudar a SOS haga clic aquí!

Mira un mensaje de el Director de las Aldeas Infantiles en Lujan, Buenos Aires

Yasmene Salhia Around the World

SOS Children’s Village, Brazil

2 Sep

Laughter and SMILES filled my visit to the SOS Children’s Village in Brazil.  The children were very affectionate and curious and we all had a wonderful time with the clowns I brought along from Medicina Do Riso.  The director, SOS staff, and SOS mothers welcomed me to the village and made me feel completely at home.  I spoke in Spanish and the children in Portuguese, and although we did understand everything being said… everyone SMILES in the same language.

The SOS Children’s Village Poá was one of the first SOS Children’s Villages in Brazil. It opened in 1968 and located, about 35 kilometres from the centre of São Paulo. The Village is on a five-acre site in the middle of a vast fertile stretch of land.

The Village consists of twelve family houses, where up to 140 children can find a new home. There is also the village director’s house, a house for the so-called SOS aunts (SOS mother trainees or family helpers who support the SOS mothers during their daily work and fill in for them when they are ill or on leave), a multi-purpose hall for functions and festivities, and an administration and service area.

An SOS Youth Facility in the city centre accommodates up to 18 youths from the SOS Children’s Village. Young people usually move from the SOS Children’s Village to an SOS Youth Facility when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified youth workers, the young people develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers. There is also an SOS Social Centre, which offers full day care for up to 200 pre-school children from the local community.

For more information about how you can help SOS Children’s Villages click HERE.

For more photos and video full of SMILES check out my Facebook page:

Yasmene Salhia Around the World

Hope you ‘like’ it!

SOS Children’s Village, Mexico City

26 Aug

I had the privilege of visiting the SOS Children’s Village in Mexico City.  The director, Carlos Jarquin, gave me a tour of the new facilities and explained how an SOS village operates, which differs greatly from what you might imagine an orphanage to be.

What is an SOS Children’s Village? (excerpts from SOS website)

SOS Children’s Villages offers a new home for children who cannot grow up in their biological family or who are either unlikely or unable to return to their families. The SOS Children’s Village model is now in place in over 130 countries. This form of care is providing a family-based environment for the children.

The care model is based on four elements:

The mother/parent

The SOS mother is the emotional reference point for the children. She lives with the children that have been placed in her care (an average of five to seven children) as a family member. She shapes the family’s daily life with the children and forms reliable and stable relationships with them. People who decide to live with the children receive intensive specialist training. The SOS mothers are supported in their work, which entails many responsibilities, by education specialists and family assistants, as well as other women who are still training to become SOS mothers. More than 5,000 women across the world work in this profession. In some countries it is also possible for SOS couples or fathers to care for an SOS family.

Brothers and sisters

Boys and girls of different ages grow up together as siblings in SOS families. Biological siblings are not separated when they come to the village, which means that larger groups of siblings can also stay together. Children up to the age of ten are taken into the village, but an exception is made if some members of a group of siblings are over the age of ten.

The House

Each SOS family lives in its own house, which the family can organize and fit out according to needs and as they wish.

The Village

Each SOS Children’s Village consists of an average of ten to 15 family houses. Many villages also include a kindergarten that is also open to children from the surrounding communities. SOS Children’s Villages are open spaces. We place a strong emphasis on the integration of the children into their surrounding environment, as well as on their exchange and contact with neighbouring communities. Family strengthening programmes and other social services for families and children in need are an integral part of the activities of SOS Children’s Villages in many locations.

There are more than 2,000 facilities and programs in 132 countries and territories.

I urge all of you reading this to click here to learn more about SOS Children’s Villages.

As I visit more villages around the world I will give you more information about this wonderful organization.

After my tour, some of the children gathered to have some fun with some clowns I brought along to put a smile on all of our faces!

Check out the video clip on my Facebook page Yasmene Salhia Around the World

I hope you “like” it!

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