According to its motto “Empowering young people”, the Wilo-Foundation supports the SOS Children’s Villages organisation worldwide, including in Eastern Europe. In these regions, where youth unemployment rates are as high as 50 to 60 per cent, young people are in particular need for support. That is why SOS Children’s Villages has launched three pilot programmes to support particularly disadvantaged young people in Belgrade (Serbia), Skopje (Macedonia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in improving their career opportunities and facilitating their entry into the labour market. Once the three-year pilot phase has been completed successfully, the project may also be launched in other towns and cities in these countries. Although the projects are tailored to the specific needs and situations of the respective cities and countries, their overall structure is quite similar, and they receive substantial financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In 2017, the Wilo-Foundation became a sponsor of the Strong Youngsters project in Belgrade and will provide funding for the remaining two years of the project term. The project gives more than 300 socially disadvantaged youths aged 16 to 24 the opportunity to gain better access to the labour market. As part of the project, a careers centre was set up that will be an important point of contact for young people. The centre offers soft skills and life skills training, language and computer courses, internship programmes, possibilities to gain labour market experience and job placement services. To encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, the centres also offers trainings on how to start a business. Moreover, there is a special budget to provide financial support to outstanding business concepts.
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SOS Children’s Villages is an independent, non-governmental and non-denominational aid agency for children that is active all over the world. SOS Children’s Villages has been advocating for the rights of children since 1949. The organisation is now working in 135 countries around the globe. The role of SOS Children’s Villages is to help abandoned and destitute children and youth lead a better life. In the surrounding area of the villages, neighbourhood support is also provided for families in need through self-help projects, educational initiatives and healthcare centres.