Interviews

Saba Faisal is the National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan

Saba Faisal is the National Director, SOS Children's Villages Pakistan
Saba Faisal is the National Director, SOS Children's Villages Pakistan

SOS Children’s Villages of Pakistan is proud to be making a meaningful contribution to nation building by developing a comprehensive social program for rehabilitating the most vulnerable members of our society – orphans and abandoned children

  1. Tell us about yourself?

Ans. Born and raised in Lahore and being the eldest child, I learnt the importance of responsibility and problem solving at an early age. I joined SOS Children’s Villages in Pakistan in January 2017. Before joining SOS, I worked for the education sector for almost 19 years, specifically in the administration and management department.

2. What was the reason to join SOS?

Ans. Growing up in Lahore, I was always aware of the presence of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan. But I had never had the chance to visit any project. I was introduced to our president through a mutual friend. They had been looking to fill up this position. After the first meeting, I had the privilege of being offered the position. Having worked in the private sector for many years, I was a bit hesitant jumping into the non-profit sector. I think it was my motherly instinct which compelled me to seriously consider this option. I was also encouraged by my family and friends and above all, I received tremendous support from our president.

3. Can you please tell us about some of your projects?

Ans. SOS Children’s Villages of Pakistan is proud to be making a meaningful contribution to nation building by developing a comprehensive social program for rehabilitating the most vulnerable members of our society – orphans and abandoned children. This is our duty as concerned human beings. Our methodology is very simple and very basic. These children should be provided a home and all the advantages of a family life as similar as possible to that of a normal home. To achieve this end we establish SOS Children’s Villages based on four principles – “The Village”, “The Home”, “A Mother” and “Brothers and Sisters”.

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In Pakistan we are in our 42nd year of service. From the first project opened in 1977 we have grown to 56 projects. These include 14 Children’s Villages, 4 residential hostels, 12 Youth Homes, 22 Community Schools, 4 Technical and Vocational Centers, 3 Medical centers and 4 Children’s homes. We presently have SOS Children’s Villages and homes in Lahore, Dhodial, Karachi, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Multan, Khairpur, Jamshoro, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad, Kharian and Sialkot.

4. What is the toughest part of the job for you?

Ans. Challenges are the part and parcel of any job, and these challenges enable us to strive for excellence. I think my toughest day was my first encounter with all the children. It was an overwhelming experience, which brought tears to my eyes. I think it was the mother in me, who was crying at the hard and traumatic backgrounds of these children. I wanted to immediately hug and kiss away all their troubles.

5. What is the admission criterion for the children to get enrolled in SOS? 

Ans. The detailed admission criterion is listed on our website. Enrollment age varies from newborn to 10 years. These include;

  • Complete orphan, without either parent
  • Children whose mothers have remarried and abandoned the children
  • Children whose mothers are suffering from a terminal illness and father is deceased
  • Lost or abandoned children
  1. 6. How would you describe the essence of success?

Ans. SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan takes pride in our unique approach towards children and I believe that this has been the cornerstone of our success.

It is in how we put our fundamental belief “Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.” into action that sets us apart.

We believe that to provide a loving home, you have to understand that every child is unique. Every child comes from a different background, has different needs and different dreams. We are different because we truly put the child at the center of everything we do. We get to know every child and young person in our care, and each one has an individual development plan. We talk with the children and involve them. The individual child’s best interests are at the heart of every decision. The other important factor of our success has been the continuous support of our donors and sponsors. We make it possible for children to live as children, to feel loved, protected and comfortable enough to build happy memories. I think this is our biggest achievement.

7. What is your greatest Strength?

Ans. My greatest strength lies with the immense support of my president and my board. I firmly believe that the success of any organization lies with its human capital. And by recognizing their efforts and giving them respect, we gain the important traits of loyalty, determination and trust.

8. Can you please enlighten us with your future plans in this Organization?

Ans. Our future plans are to keep on providing quality care to all the affected children of our community. SOS Children’s Villages do not admit those children who have mothers – unless they have remarried and left their children with relatives, in which case they are categorized as “Social orphans”.

SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan started a pilot project in 2015 for the children of women-headed households in Johar Town, Lahore. This need was identified and SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan started work on this project.

The objective is to relieve the mothers of the responsibility of looking after the needs of the children, thus making it possible for them to find employment. We have already 4 such “Children’s Homes” operating in 4 cities.

9. Any message you want to give Children & Parents through our Magazine?

Ans. My wish for all the children in our care is the wish any mother would have for her loved ones to see them happy, well rounded, confident and responsible citizens of the country!

And for the parents, our children are our most prized possession. Please cherish them with all your heart.

Molazmat

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