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Single motherhood is career choice in SOS villages


Summary of story from, October 3, 2011

Unmarried women in India’s first SOS Village make careers – complete with stresses, medical benefits and pensions – out of caring for large groups of abandoned and orphaned children.

The village is designed to provide each of the resident children–currently numbering 217–with a loving home and supportive extended community. Each child is assigned to three counselors.

Their assigned mothers have access to yoga and meditation workshops to help ease the heavy caretaking stress.

There are also workshops for mothers and children on topics such as sex education, health, hygiene and child rights and responsibilities.

Assigning single women a central caretaking role was a key principle of the group’s Austrian founder, Dr. Hermann Gmeiner, a pediatrician and philanthropist who died in 1986.

Gmeiner established SOS Villages in Europe in the late 1940s. He lost his own mother when he was quite young and after her death was raised by a teenage sister. That sister, Elsa, became the role model for an SOS mother, according to the group’s Web site.

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