|Young Adults Socialize outside SOS Youth Facility Obera, Argentina|
| Photo: Mr A. Gabriel|
SOS Children's Villages attaches great importance to ensuring that the young people entrusted to its care are well prepared for the social and economic realities of their world and are empowered to develop their own personal perspectives in life. The overall goal is to accompany young people on their road to becoming self-reliant adults: to help them develop a positive approach to life, integrate into society, and be able to provide for themselves.
Young people often move out of the village and into a youth facility when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified youth workers, the young people develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility, and increasingly make their own decisions. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.
|SOS Youth Facilities are a great transition between living in a family, and becoming independant|
| Photo: Ms. L.W. Neilsen|
Youth houses provide a home for groups of teens aged fourteen and above. The necessary educational and psychological support is made available to them, as it is in the villages. Some youth houses are larger than others, and take in teens from more than one SOS Children's Village.
In order to ensure the successful guidance of the young people towards independence, SOS Children's Villages is increasingly moving away from institutional forms of care - such as SOS Youth Houses, for example. The basic principle we have been moving towards is the concept of family-oriented care, which is why the present guidelines talk exclusively about "SOS Youth Communities" (or "semi-independent housing programs).
Youth communities are designed to accommodate a maximum of 14 young people plus one live-in counselor. The young people themselves are responsible for organizing their everyday lives and the counselor plays a more supportive role, allowing the teens more independence.
|A Barbeques at SOS Youth Centre Assomata, Cape Verde.|
| Photo: Ms. C. Mathisse|
The big move from the shelter of the family home to the world of independence and responsibility is a big step for any young person. One of the first problems is often finding somewhere to live, not to speak of the fact that a home costs money and needs to be looked after. Without a regular income such a move is not possible. In response to this universal dilemma, SOS Children's Villages has developed its semi-independent housing program, enabling young adults to explore their increasing independence by choosing and furnish their own home.
Without training and education, the move to economic self-sufficiency is nearly impossible. For this reason great importance is attached to supporting teens in their choice of vocational training program, especially during their time in the SOS Youth Community. A systematic program of support is designed to ensure that career counseling is provided. Contacts with business partners are also carefully developed, maintained and employed to benefit.
|Young adults benefit from the SOS 'Head-Start' program, providing soft loans for youths to start a small business|
| Photo: Ms. M. Jaramillo|
The ‘SOS head-start’ scheme takes support for young men and women from SOS Children's Villages even further. The head-start scheme provides soft loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment schedules to young men and women who want to set up their own small businesses.
In difficult cases SOS Children's Villages also offers follow-up support. In this follow-up period, teens are given additional support in the process of achieving full independence from the village, in managing crisis situations and solving ad hoc organizational or financial problems. The level of assistance provided depends on the individual’s needs and requirements.