Diwali is a five-day religious holiday that is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians. Also called the festival of lights, Diwali means "rows of lighted lamps." This year the lunar-based holiday, which celebrates the victory of good over evil, begins on October 17. Indian families will celebrate by lighting earthen lamps, giving gifts, and preparing large feasts.
Indian children whose parents have died from poverty, disease, and natural disasters do not experience the warmth of Diwali. Without other family members to raise them, at a very early age they commonly resort to begging, child labor, or prostitution.
Bringing Diwali and Hope to Orphans in India
SOS Children's Villages provides family-based care to destitute children. Each orphaned or abandoned child living in one of SOS-India's forty villages has found a loving SOS mother, a warm home, and a stable environment in which to grow and thrive.
SOS believes in raising children within their own cultural and religious traditions. SOS trains local women to be SOS mothers. In SOS Children's Villages in India, Diwali is celebrated as it would be in any caring Hindu home—by cleaning the home for the holiday, lighting lamps, exchanging presents, and enjoying special foods.
SOS also runs schools, vocational training centers, clinics, and counseling centers for needy families living near its Children's Villages. Its family strengthening programs help more than 25,000 women and children remain together.
Offering Relief for Victims of Natural Disasters
Beyond its main mandate to provide homes for orphaned children, SOS Children's Villages offers emergency relief to local populations left homeless and hungry during natural disasters.
India's latest disaster, a seven-day monsoon whose flash flooding killed 275 people in the states of Karnataka and Andra Pradesh, wiped out homes, crops, and livelihoods. Every disaster leaves more orphans.
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Since its founding in 1949, SOS Children's Villages has expanded to 500 villages in 132 countries. Currently raising over 80,000 children in villages and through many education, family strengthening, medical, and outreach programs, SOS Children's Villages impacts the lives of over 1 million people each year. Visit http://www.sos-