Nepal's fifth SOS Children's Village started its operation in 1987; its official opening took place in January 1989 in the presence of the late king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and Mr Helmut Kutin, president of SOS-Kinderdorf International. It is situated in a small valley in the west of the country, about 700 km from the capital, Kathmandu. Since the road from the valley to the nearest town, Nepalgunj, at a distance of 106 km, is only passable in dry weather, the SOS Children's Village is rather cut off from the outside world.
SOS Children's Village Surkhet consists of 14 family houses, the village director's house, co-workers' residences, a community centre and an administrative building. There is an SOS Social Centre with a day-care centre, where children from the neighbourhood are looked after while their parents are at work. It also offers health counselling for poor families, literacy classes for children and income-generating training workshops for women from the local community. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School consists of a kindergarten, a primary and a secondary school. Children from the neighbourhood can attend this school together with the SOS children.
This makes life easier for the local population while it helps SOS children integrate into society later on. An SOS Youth Facility was established in Nepalgunj in 1995. Young adults from the SOS Children's Village move to the SOS Youth Facility while they are still doing their education or training. The city of Nepalgunj offers them better job and education opportunities.
In 1996, an SOS Social Centre and later, in 1999, an SOS Medical Centre for mother and child were set up in Nepalgunj.
There is also an SOS Social Centre in Surkhet, which offers family-strengthening programmes, child day care, health counselling, training workshops and community support.