SOS Children’s Villages brings the WOW factor to SA

HIV AidsRaising awareness for World Orphan Week is the world’s largest children’s charity SOS Children’s Villages. World Orphan Week, otherwise known as WOW, extends from 8 to 14 February 2010 and is an upbeat initiative to mobilise corporate South African to dress in something ‘wow’ to highlight the plight of orphaned and abandoned children.

Leigh Swartz, Fund Development Manager for SOS Children’s Villages South Africa said: “WOW is celebrated annually across five countries and we’re excited to introduce the concept of dressing up in something wow to raise money for the children of SA.”  Wearing feathers, hats, sparkle or something fun is all that is required to make a difference for the children,  “We’re expecting South African’s to embrace the concept as a unique way to fundraise while having lots of fun doing it,” said Swartz.

World Orphan Week was founded by Katie Dudley from the UK who was stirred to start something to aid the plight of orphaned children. To date numerous volunteers across four countries have raised nearly R5-million for SOS Children globally over the last five years, “SOS South Africa is hoping to catch-up to that figure with the support of people dressing up wow for WOW,” said Swartz.

An astonishing statistic quoted by SOS International indicates that every 2.2 seconds, a child loses a parent due to war, poverty, natural disaster, disease, AIDS and other such causes.  This staggering realisation leaves us with approximately 133 million children who have lost one or both parents; of which 15 million have been orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic. Providing for children such as these in South Africa is the eight villages and three social centres set up by SOS. The villages currently supports over 6 500 children providing them with ‘families’, homes, and an education.  The SOS international organisation cares directly for more than 70,000 children in 123 countries globally.

As a result of the growing orphan crisis in Southern Africa SOS South Africa has expanded beyond its village operations to develop sustainable community-based family strengthening programmes.  These programmes aim to assist and support vulnerable children without removing them from their natural family environment.  “A characteristic example of where the family strengthening programme is working well is with the many grandparent-headed households,” said Swartz.  This community care naturally extends to the families caring for the many susceptible children in our country.

Causing a stir for World Orphan Week is a small but significant way to reach more vulnerable children, “We’re already hearing about people planning their WOW wardrobe – so join in and don a fabulously loud tie, or get dressed up in full evening wear or even decorate your shoes – just make sure it shouts wow!” said Swartz.  The suggestion is a collective group donation of R5 per participant, to be donated to SOS South Africa via direct deposit or an EFT.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
o        Display WOW posters
Design and put up WOW posters around the office or school. Make sure everyone knows when they should be wearing something WOW.
o        Shout WOW
Invite the press; local newspapers and radio stations really love to hear about local fundraising events, they may even want to come and take some photographs on the day. Please also spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or a blog. You can find us on Twitter: @WOW_SOS_SA or search Facebook for “WOW SOS Children’s Villages South Africa”.  Post your wacky and WOW photographs on Facebook and Twitter to help encourage everyone to join.
o        Lastly WOW them all!
Have a fabulous day wearing something completely out of the ordinary and be proud of yourself for raising valuable funds for orphaned and abandoned children. Don’t forget to collect all your donations and deposit them directly into the SOS bank account which can be found online, or see below. From yummy mummies, to extreme executives, terrific toddlers to glamorous grannies, everyone can make a difference to just one child’s life.

To make your WOW donation, or to sponsor a SOS child in need, please make use of these banking details for electronic fund transfers:
Banking Details for Direct / Electronic Transfer Donations:
Nedbank, Randburg
Account Name: Fund Development Unit SOS South Africa
Reference: WOW (Your name/school or company here)
Account number: 1984 563 068
Branch Code      : 1984 05

For further information please visit our website www.sos.org.za  or contact Leigh Swartz on ( (011) 234 8708 or 0861 767 767

Some additional fundraising activities:
Wearing something WOW during World Orphan Week is not the only way you can you have fun! Try some of our fantastic fundraising ideas, or perhaps you have some great ideas of your own.
o        WOW party ~ host a party where friends can wear their WOW outfits and strut their WOW stuff all night. Charge a small entry fee and donate profits from drinks and snacks sold.
o        WOW hair day ~ add wigs! Add colour! Add ornaments and glitter!
o        Let them eat WOW cake ~ see who can bake the WOW-est cakes and have a cake sale.
o        Most WOW! ~ students or colleagues can judge which teacher or individual looks the most WOW
o        The WOW factor ~ simply host a talent competition to see who has the WOW factor. Start with auditions at the beginning of the week and a big finale at the end.
INTERESTING FACTS:
Ø       WOW is World Orphan Week
Ø       WOW week is an upbeat initiative to mobilise South Africans to make a difference in the lives of orphans.
Ø       The initiative is being introduced to South Africa by SOS Children’s Villages www.sos.org.za
Ø       SOS are appealing to the public to pick a day during World Orphan Week: 8 to 14 February 2010 and dress-up in something ‘wow’ and donate R5 to SOS Children’s Villages
Ø       SOS Children’s Village is the world’s largest children’s charity caring for orphan and abandoned children.  The charity organisation cares for over 6500 children in South Africa mainly orphaned by HIV. Over 6 500 children are provided with ‘families’, homes, and an education across eight SOS villages in South Africa.
Ø       The awareness week is celebrated annually across five countries – South Africa, America, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia
Ø       The initiative started five years ago by a young mother, Katie Dudley from the UK who wanted to help even more children than her own.  To date numerous volunteers across four countries have raised nearly R5-million for SOS Children globally
Ø       Dress-up, dress differently and dress WOW! Wear sparkle, decorate your shoes and don on a funky hat or funny gloves … anything! Just as long as it’s WOW.

You can also learn more about the amazing work of SOS Children’s Village in South Africa and internationally by watching this special YouTube video http://bit.ly/SOS_WOW in celebration of WOW week! Please remember to support our local organisation by visiting www.sos.org.za rather than the UK website.


About Naufal Khan

Publisher & editor of Indian Spice.