In January 1963, the Belgian SOS Children’s Villages association "SOS Villages d'Enfants Belgique" was established. Our organisation started working in Bande, a small town in the south of Belgium. At present, there are two SOS Children's Village associations – one which supports children and families within Belgium and another which works with the SOS Children's Villages programmes in developing countries.
Children do not always get the chance to grow up in a safe environment. Sometimes the family situation is so critical that the juvenile court needs to intervene and find alternative solutions for the wellbeing of the child. One of these options is the SOS Children’s Village Chantevent in Bande.
The SOS Children’s Village Chantevent offers a family environment and upbringing for more than forty children. The village is composed of seven family houses. Every house has an SOS mother who cares for five to seven children. A team of educators, a psychologist and a speech therapist are equally present. This allows every child the best opportunity to evolve to their individual best. The children stay in the Village for a long period. They go to school in the neighborhood and have afterschool activities provided.
When the situation permits, children maintain contact with their biological families. In the best possible outcome, if long-term positive changes have been made, the children can be reunited with their parents. Otherwise the children leave the village at the age of eighteen. The youths in the SOS Children’s Village Chantevent can, from the age of sixteen, be part of the youth center. Here they learn through guidance how to live in a self sufficient manner. How to take care of themselves and how to handle ones budget are amongst some of the skills taught.
Youths who have a tougher time adjusting to an independent and self-sufficient life can from the age of eighteen be welcomed at ‘l’Olivier’. This is an SOS youth center in Hollogne (Marche-en-Famenne). Four youths live together in one apartment which is accommodated with a bathroom and kitchenette. Here they can also count on the intensive guidance from their educator. They work together on a development plan for their professional and personal life. L’Olivier is also open for youths who have not come from the SOS Children’s Village but who require daily support.