The decision to build an SOS Children's Village in the island of Flores was taken after the devastating earthquake of December 1992, which left many children orphaned or abandoned. Flores was once a Portuguese colony, and the majority of the population is Catholic. The island's climate is very hot and dry. The SOS Children's Village was officially opened in 1998 by SOS-Children's Villages' president Mr Helmut Kutin. It is situated at the village of Waturia, 14 km west of the district capital of Maumere. As the island is frequently struck by earthquakes, the buildings of the SOS Children's Village have been equipped with special roof constructions, which are supposed to be earthquake-proof. In addition, the floors of the buildings have been raised so that they are safe in the event of a tsunami.
There are fifteen family houses and the Village Director's house, a multi-purpose hall, a library, a playground and different administrative areas. Vegetable gardens have been laid out for each family house in order to provide the families with fresh vegetables. Many fruit trees, such as mango, banana and tamarind, have been planted on the site of the SOS Children's Village.
In 1998, the SOS Kindergarten was opened; up to 90 children from the SOS-Children's Village and from the surroundings can be looked after there.
Adolescent boys usually move from the village to the 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.
The SOS Social Centre offers family strengthening, health counselling, community support, counselling and psychological support. The programmes are designed to ensure that children have access to essential services, such as education, health services and psycho-social support. Families are assisted with income generation. They also receive help when dealing with the authorities. People's parental skills and awareness of children's rights are improved.