Clijsters first illustrated her philanthropic concern for children by donating her prize money from the January 2010 Brisbane tennis tournament to that Australian city’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Her commitment to SOS Children’s Villages reflects her desire to engage in a more structured, long-term effort to help children.
Says 27-year-old Clijsters on her new role, "Children are our future. They should grow up in a family where they can become strong. Too many children do not have this chance. What SOS does for children is very impressive. Together with SOS Children's Villages, I would like to stand up for this basic right for every child: the right to a family."
Helping Fragile Children and Families
Kim Clijsters and husband Brian Lynch, who plays professional basketball in Belgium, have bolstered SOS’s work by donating 100,000 Euros ($134,000) to Simba House. Simba House, created in 2009 in the city of Liedekerke, 12 miles outside of Brussels, helps children and families in crisis. SOS-Simba House gives temporary care to children at risk of or already facing abuse at home. At the same time, SOS works with parents to develop the parenting skills and financial wherewithal to be able to care for their children.
Although Belgium is a developed country, almost 17 percent of its children live in poverty. Families in deep distress, due to financial or other reasons, often take out their problems on their children. At Simba House, SOS gives refuge to children from families in crisis and helps them regain their self-confidence.
Simba House is named after a similar project in Austria, where SOS Children’s Villages was founded in 1949. An Austrian psychologist explains the origin of “Simba”:
"In my office is a slew of stuffed toy Simbas, the lion cub in the movie The Lion King. One of the children I was working with became completely smitten with Simba, which facilitated my work with him. Thereafter, I became known as Frau Simba and the project as Simba. The children who come to us have seen terrible things. They have lost trust in adults. Little by little we draw them out and instill their confidence in people. The character Simba is known for his power and big heart. He protects the defenseless. He inspires children living in SOS Simba houses."
You can follow in Kim's family's steps. Read more and watch the video:
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About SOS Children's Villages:
For over 60 years, SOS Children's Villages has been dedicated to the long-term care of children without parental care. Through our SOS Children's Villages, Family Strengthening Programs, and other initiatives, SOS impacts the lives of over 1 million people each year.
SOS Children's Villages has received numerous honors including the Save the World Award, the Mother Teresa Gold Medal, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, and the Vietnam Friendship Medal.
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