SOS Children in Asia: Family Strengthening and Street Children
SOS Children has been working in Asia since 1965. Since then, it has developed a huge presence, with 126 villages in 26 countries. Many of these countries also run Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to prevent at risk families from abandoning children, by empowering and informing families with the required support.
Below is an example from a family strengthening programme in Lebanon. Read about more projects by selecting an option on the right hand menu.
Family Strengthening Programme in Lebanon
Rather than try to explain any further the concept of family strengthening let us give you an example of a family close to the edge which we helped:
The SOS Social Centre in Ksarnaba has started to provide support to families. Here is a first success story that highly reflects on the effectiveness and efficiency of the family strengthening programme which keeps families together.
The family concerned (we are not naming them out of respect for their privacy online) includes four children (between 2 and 12 years old). The father is severely disabled and requires intensive care, assistance and a lot of medication. The mother is 45 years old, active and healthy, yet she was jobless and overburdened by the requirements of her family's daily needs. The three older children are attending a semi-private school and they are doing very well in their studies. However, the mother was unable to pay their accumulated education fees.
The mother asked for temporary SOS Children accommodation for her children. However, SOS children realised that these children should not be deprived of their natural family environment and instead the family has to be given support through our SOS Social Centre programme .
The director of the SOS Social Centre discussed the situation with the mother, as well as with the SOS Social Centre committee and a social contract was formulated with the mother accordingly.
The following was agreed upon:
- The education fees will be covered by SOS for one year: The director of the SOS Social Centre together with the mother managed to get massive reductions from the school, and hence this was the first partnership formed with an existing educational facility in the Ksarnaba area.
- A Feasibility Study would be completed: The mother was asked
to prepare a feasibility study/business plan for an income generating activity
that she was capable to implement, based on her skills and the availability of
a market in the area.
- SOS Children would help with the start-up capital and investments for her business idea on a loan-basis.
The mother, who turned out to be very capable, managed to draw up her feasibility study/business plan to establish a mini-bakery in a shop next to her house, within a period of only 15 days! As soon as she went into business, she generated income and was very happy to start paying back to the SOS Social Centre. The family has already become totally self-reliant and the children are very happy to be able to stay with their parents.
The construction of the fourth SOS Children's Village and its affiliated SOS Social Centre in Ksarnaba had been delayed due to the political situation in Lebanon. However, we have managed to rent a temporary apartment that is serving as a home for 11 children and 5 SOS mothers, as well as a temporary location for the SOS Social Centre. A director for the SOS Social Centre was recruited as of January 2005, and she had undergone very intense training. She has started to establish networks with the existing NGO's as well as informal social structures in the area, and the example above demonstrates her professional skills.