Güntner is committed to combating social poverty on its doorstep
As the patron of the SOS Children's Village in Dießen am Ammersee, Germany, Güntner has been supporting children and young people who can no longer live with their own families for a variety of reasons since 2008. In the spirit of the organisation's founder, Hermann Gmeiner, Güntner helps to provide a safe place for children who have nowhere to call home and to open up better prospects for them. At the SOS Children's Village, the girls and boys experience a feeling of security, learn family values, and receive support and stable guidance on their way to independent living.
As a rule, four to six girls and boys form a family with an SOS Children's Village mother. Each family lives in their own house. The SOS mother takes care of the children 24 hours a day which is unique and gives the children the great feeling of having an almost normal family life. This comes under the motto "Helping People to Help Themselves". SOS mothers and fathers each have a dual role. They are pedagogical specialists with an educational duty, while at the same time providing privacy and a common home for the children. This allows the children to lead a life that differs little at first from that of kids of the same age.
The SOS Children's Village in Dießen am Ammersee consists of ten SOS families. It is a living and working community of children, adolescents and differently trained professionals such as social education workers, curative educators, administrators, heads of villages, trainees, psychologists and educators who are not only sympathetic to the problems and worries of the children entrusted to them but, above all, offer qualified assistance and reliable structures. The children attend public schools in the area and can stay with their family until they have completed their vocational training. Most of them stay in close contact with their family afterwards.
The founder of SOS Children's Villages, Hermann Gmeiner, wanted to give orphans more than just a bed and a meal after becoming victims to war — he wanted to offer them a family. That is why he founded SOS-Kinderdorf e.V. in Munich on 8 February 1955, in order to provide a home for children in need. The first German institution of this kind followed in 1956 with the SOS Children's Village Ammersee.
In Germany today, there are 16 SOS Children's Villages and there are plans for two more. The SOS families in Germany currently look after 685 children. Since 1955, 9,998 children have grown up in an SOS family in Germany — that makes 9,998 children who did not have to cope alone. There are now 555 Children's Villages worldwide.
The work of SOS Children's Villages is made possible thanks to the help of more than 5 million friends and donors around the world. Around 85 % of donations flow directly into projects of SOS Children's Villages and provide support, education and training for children and young people.