The SOS Children\'s movement is a unique system of childcare. The special features of SOS Children\'s Villages is that they are not traditional orphanages, they provide homes for orphans and abandoned children with a warm family type environment. An SOS Village provides children with loving care and instills in them a sense of confidence so that they live normal lives and develop to their full potential. This approach to the problem of orphan care has proved so successful that today SOS is the largest social welfare organization in the world. Presently there are 1462 SOS facilities in 138 countries, a large number being situated in Asia, Africa and South America.
As is the pattern throughout the world SOS has established facilities for the countries in which they operate according to the need. To ensure that the children receive a good education and also integrate with other children, community schools are established in conjunction with every SOS Children\'s Village project. These are providing quality education at a reasonable cost to underprivileged children from the locality.
Four basic principles form the basis of all work and provide the children a life as normal as possible - a mother, brothers and sisters, a home and the Village.
The Mother is the person with whom the ultimate responsibility rests for meeting the child\'s physical and emotional needs, and providing essential love and care. In the final analysis the quality of care provided by the mother determines the success of our efforts.
Brothers and Sisters are essential in any family pattern. Boys and girls are kept together in the family homes till the boys reach adolescence. Real brothers and sisters are always kept together and accommodated in the same house.
The Home is the focal point of the Village. Here a child finds security, a feeling of \'belonging\' and having this own place in this world. A SOS home is a self-contained unit and is as close as possible to a normal home in all respects.
The Village is the community in which the child lives and finds shelter and support from other members of this \'family\'.
Extra curricular activities are also organized in which the children enthusiastically participate. Activity areas according to age groups are included in the Village facilities. They are periodically taken on trips outside the Village and take part in many community activities with other children. In short, they are provided every opportunity to develop into happy, confident and well-adjusted personalities.
A special feature of SOS Children\'s Villages is that the organization takes responsibility for the children in its care till they are able to support themselves. After matriculation children both boys and girls receive career counseling. Higher education is provided to those with merit and otherwise technical education. The boys are cared for till they are capable of earning their livelihood and girls till such time as they are married. So far almost 200 children have been settled outside and the marriages of 25 girls arranged.
SOS Children\'s Villages of Pakistan is financed through the support of private individuals, philanthropic foundations and the corporate sector. Fund raising is an essential part of the work and donations are solicited for the donation of family homes in the Villages and of classrooms for the schools.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary; six more SOS Children\'s Villages will be established in Multan, Sialkot, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur.
The generous support of the community has made it possible to achieve so much in 25 years and future plans include selling up more facilities in all parts of the country.
Contributed: President, SOS Children\'s Villages of Pakistan.
To celebrate the \"25th Anniversary of SOS Village Pakistan Post Office is issuing one commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 2/- denomination on March 12, 2000.