The SOS Children's Village in Lahore was the first project to be established in Pakistan. It was officially opened in January 1977, by the then President Chaudry Fazal Elahi, and is constructed on a 10 acre site donated by the Government of the Punjab. Since the National Office and National Training Centre are situated nearby, this Village plays an important role in imparting training and serving as a model for other projects.
The Village started out with 15 family homes and another four have been added, with one being donated by Mohammad Afzal, who grew up in this Village, and is now a successful Hongkong based businessman. Many children have gone out into the world from this centre and some are doing remarkably well. They include several bankers, IT specialists, army officers, teachers, textile workers, government employees etc. They are all invited to the reunion of former children, which is organized regularly and provides an opportunity for them to renew their ties. To date, the marriages of 36 girls have been arranged, with Friends of SOS bearing all the expenses. They regularly visit their former homes and families, along with their own children. Quite a few of the boys and girls are now living abroad.
The SOS Youth Home is located in a property purchased in a nearby area in 1985. This is an old building and is now reaching the end of its utility. We are planning to construct a new project as soon as possible and have been allocated land for this purpose by the Government of the Punjab.
When the Village was first opened the children were sent to outside schools but, it soon became apparent that, if they were to be provided a good education, we would have to do this ourselves. It was decided, therefore, that community schools would be established in conjunction with every SOS Village. This has several advantages as, not only do our children and those from outside receive a sound education, but it ensures that our children do not grow up in isolation.
The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, with a capacity for 1500 children, was opened in 1989. It has all the requisite facilities for providing quality education, such as well equipped science laboratories, computer laboratories, libraries, audiovisual aids, sports facilities etc. The results of the students are impressive and reflect the resolve of the school management to set high academic standards. As in all our schools, the fee structure is kept low so that children from less privileged families can also benefit from the facility.
The SOS National Training Centre was completed in 2005 and is intended for centralized training of staff, from all over the country. It includes spacious classrooms and residential facilities for co-workers attending workshops or training courses. Unfortunately, before it could be commissioned, the disastrous earthquake occurred in AJK and it has been converted into a temporary Emergency Shelter for orphans from that area. In the meantime, training courses are conducted within the Village premises.
SOS Children's Village Lahore Ferozepur Road,