SOS Children’s Village: Living hope for underprivileged ones

In 1998, SOS Children’s Village Jammu opened its gates. It is situated on the outskirts of the old temple city of Jammu and consists of 12 family homes, staff accommodation, a multi-purpose hall and the necessary administration and service area.

Currently, it consists of 1 village where 107 orphaned and abandoned children reside, 2 Youth Facilities with 75 youths under their care, 2 schools providing education to 1,123 elementary and secondary students and 2 social centres which have 704 beneficiaries.

For many years, there have been violent clashes in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, due to religious conflicts between the Muslim majority and the Hindu minority as well as to the strife for the independence of some political groups. Numerous terrorist acts against the civil population left scores of families homeless and many children without parents.

Before 1994, SOS Kinderdorf International had several emergency relief projects in Jammu, concentrating mainly on the destitute women and children in the refugee camps. In 1994, numerous orphans were given a new home in rented buildings, while plans for an SOS Children’s Village were made.

Recent floods in the valley raise an issue of safety of children who took shelter in this village. But fortunately, when a natural disaster hits an SOS Children’s Village, the ability of its infrastructure to resist the forces of nature is crucial to keep the children and staff safe. That no fatalities due to natural disaster have been reported in the history of the organisation is a testimony to the construction standards it maintains.

Apart from its strong and safe infrastructure, SOS Villages are also well known for their educational facilities they provide to the kids who take shelter there. There are thousands of success stories from different SOS Villages from all across the globe. One such success story of a child is from SOS Children’s Village in Jammu.

“If I had never been brought up at SOS Children’s Village in Jammu, I wouldn’t have become what I am today,” says Peshori Lal. “I was only 5 years old when my biological father died. My family was shattered by the news of his dead. All of it happened so suddenly we did not get time think of any alternative, we all were in shock. My father was the only earning member in our family so, his death affected us all more than just emotionally. We were five siblings, including one elder sister, two younger sisters and one younger brother. I was the second oldest child in my family. All our nearer & dearer ones were really worried about me and my four other siblings’ upbringing, but, none of them came forward to take the responsibility when the time came. Fortunately, we got the opportunity to come to ‘SOS Children’s Village in Jammu. From then onwards, SOS family became our new and only family. We were lucky enough to have a mother of our own in SOS. I and my siblings were not alone then, we met with our other brothers and sisters in SOS Village. Other caregivers (uncles and aunts in SOS) were equally good. They always supported my dreams, their regular guidance enabled me to become a self-reliant person. What I am today, is only because SOS Children’s Village gave me a shelter when I and my siblings had no other place to go. I am really blessed that I got a chance to live amongst all these nice people in SOS Village.”

Peshori Lal was only 5 years old when he came to Children’s Village on 16th March 1995. At present, he is 27 years old and working with U-Flex Pvt. Ltd. Working as Production Engineer in Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir.

He started his early schooling from ‘Student Welfare Happy Home School’ at Trikuta Nagar, Jammu. He studied there up to 5th Class. In 2001, he got admission at SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and studied there up to 10th class.  Thereafter, on the basis of J&K Technical Education Entrance Exam, he got admission in 3-year Diploma program in Mechanical Engineering at ‘Government Polytechnic College’ at Bikram Chowk in Jammu. In 2009, he completed his diploma. After that, he did a 6-month certificate course in AUTO CADD and CATIA from Jammu only. He started his first job in December, 2010 as a Service Advisor-workshop with Jamkash Vehicles Pvt. Ltd, and after one year, he joined U-Flex Pvt. Ltd & since then he is working with the same company earning about Rs 25000/- monthly salary. Peshori got married and is leading a happy life with his family at Kunjwani, Jammu.

SOS Children’s Village of India has been providing a medium when people donate money to fund the dreams of many abandoned or orphaned children from all over the country. SOS not just provide a safe and loving home to homeless children but also good quality education that enables them to become contributing members of the society.

SOS Children’s Villages of India has set-up kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, professional institutes and vocational training centres. These educational institutions not only cater to children and youngsters under their care but also reach out to children in need from the neighbourhood communities. Not just that, they even fund higher education of those students who really wish to become something. SOS Village has been proven to be one of the most successful NGO with the multinational reach. It not just caters the educational need of its own students but also of those who are underprivileged and living around SOS Village.

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