International Care Day

SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa commemorates International Care Day on 18 February.

Care Day is the world’s largest recognition of children and young people with alternative care experience. Care experience includes children and young people who are or were cared for by family members with the support of social workers; or by foster care givers; or children and young people from children’s homes and residential units. 

According to a study by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Cape Town Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescent Hub, South Africa has recorded one of the highest numbers in the world for primary caregiver deaths. South Africa has the highest number of Covid-19 orphans on the continent, with 94 625 having lost parents and guardians in the past year, the study has revealed. The country was one of 21 involved in the study that found that more than 1.5 million children were orphaned after losing their parents, guardians and caregivers to the pandemic between last March and April this year. The study was done in partnership with the University of Oxford in the UK and titled Global minimum estimates of children affected by Covid-19-associated orphan hood and deaths of caregiver: a modelling study.

Many of these children, will end up in residential care.

SOS Children’s Villages raises awareness that “Every child should belong to a family and grow up with love, respect and security”. In a world filled with poverty, violence and injustice, the greatest victims are often children.

Care Day offers an opportunity to advocate for children and young people with care experience, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children. The objective is to improve the situation of children, striving towards a world where children and young people overcome adversities, are proud of themselves, their achievements and look forward to a future of opportunity, equality and equity.

Care Day is an opportunity to unite in recognising the rights and resilience of care experienced children and young people.

“SOS Children’s Villages is about seeing children develop to their full potential, within loving families. When children can no longer live with their own families, we provide quality alternative care, within a family, within a home, within a village. We also support vulnerable families in their own communities, so that they may be strengthened, avoiding the possibility of complete family breakdown. We work with partners to implement various psychosocial programmes for children and youth, to help them in becoming successful adults who will meaningfully contribute to the world. This Care Day, we call for more partnerships, and support.” says Lebo Phaweni, SOS Children’s Villages Head of Communications.


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About SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children’s Villages is an independent, non-governmental organisation that advocates for the rights of South Africa’s marginalised children. We offer loving, family-like care for children and young people who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care. Established in 1984, SOS has eight Children’s Villages and three Social Centres across eight provinces.

Each year our Alternative Care, Family Strengthening and Youth Employability programmes provide life-changing support to children and families across the country.

The Alternative Care model comprises of four principles that include a mother (each child has a caring parent), brothers and sisters (the family ties grow naturally), a house (a secure place to grow up in) and a village (the SOS family is part of the community).

Our Family Strengthening Programme aims to enable children who are at risk of losing the care of their families to grow within a safe family environment. We work in co-operation with local authorities and other service providers to empower families and communities to effectively protect and care for their children.

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Contact: Seithuto Seakgwa

+27 (0) 79 122 3332


Issued by:

SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa