According to the motto of its funding activities, “empowering young people”, the Wilo-Foundation is supporting the SOS Children’s Villages organisation in Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, where young people are in particular need for support. With this in mind, SOS Children’s Villages has launched various support programmes for youth aimed at improving their career opportunities and facilitating their entry into the labour market.
The SOS youth programme in Tashkent supports 23 young people in two youth institutions and empowers them to assume responsibility and live independent lives. In addition to important activities preparing them for the world of work, such as training sessions for job applicants, the participants also have the opportunity to take part in workshops on social issues such as “children’s rights”, “healthy lifestyle” or “effective communication”.
The programme was implemented in three youth facilities in St Petersburg where young people were supported during their vocational training or secondary education and encouraged to build their own future. With the support of experienced education experts and based on an individual development plan, about 50 young people received assistance, with a special focus on their particular strengths and interests. In 2018, Evi Hoch of the Wilo-Foundation visited the project and met the SOS foster parents and some of the youngsters in their living environment.
The “Strong Youngsters” project in Belgrade, which was also carried out in Skopje and Sarajevo at the same time, targeted over 300 socially disadvantaged youth aged 16 to 24 and helped them improve their access to the labour market. As part of the project, a careers centre was set up in the city of Belgrade as an important point of contact for young people concerning careers advice and vocational training. To encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, there were also training courses on how to start a business. During the 2018 Rowing World Cup in Belgrade, the Wilo-Foundation, who is a sponsor of top-class rowing teams, organised a “meet & greet” session with Uwe Bender, the coach of Germany’s national rowing team, for the SOS youngsters and invited them to the VIP tribune of the regatta.
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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 137 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.