Emily and I paid SOS Children's Village a visit to drop off some vitamins. Today is a special day and we thought we'd celebrate it in a special way.
SOS Children's Village is...hard to categorize. When I first heard of it I thought it was an orphanage. It turns out that it's not. Although they do take in orphans they also take in children whose parents are unable to care for them. More than providing food, shelter, and education, they provide a family environment.
SOS Children's Village is an NGO with a worldwide presence. It was founded in 1949 by Dr. Herman Gmeiner in Austria. Originally it was meant to take in children who had lost their parents and homes in World War II. In the Philippines, SOS Children's Village is in Manila, Lipa, Bataan, Taclobam, Calbayog, Iloilo, Cebu, and Davao (I copied that off the brochure.)
SOS Children's Village is unique because the area is really constructed as a village. The site in Davao has ten houses, each under the direction of a "mother." The children live in the houses as a family, each house has its own rules and its own activities.
We got to visit one such house. It was very homey indeed. The ceiling was high and it was quite spacious. It felt like a very Filipino home. On the cabinet tops were pictures of the children and on the wall were their many medals. The shelves were lined with books and stuffed toys. The karaoke machine occupied pride of place in the living room. Over to the side was a long dining table. (I did not snap photos because it felt too much like an invasion of privacy to take them.)
SOS Children's Village seems like a good place to contribute time to. I wonder if they could use some programming classes?