On the morning of 26 December 2004, a tsunami caused by an earthquake with the epicentre near Banda Aceh struck the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean. More than 130,000 people died in Indonesia, even more lost their homes and thousands of children were separated from their parents. Medan, the capital of the North Sumatra Province, was less affected than the western cities of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, but right after the natural disaster, many people fled to Medan. Today, there are a lot of destitute families and many children without parental care.
SOS Children's Village Medan is situated about seven kilometres southwest of the city centre, in a middle-class area called Medan Permai (Beautiful Medan). It consists of 15 family houses, a director's house, a community centre (administration and a medical room), an activity centre (computers, library, music, dance), a multi-purpose hall and different co-workers' residences. The SOS Children's Village offers a new home for up to 150 orphaned or abandoned children.
Furthermore, there is an SOS Kindergarten with three classes of 30 children each; it is also open to children from the local community. The older children attend public schools, which helps them to grow up just like their friends from outside the SOS Children's Village. Older boys are taken care of at the SOS Youth Care Facility, which was opened in 2011.
The SOS Social Centre offers family strengthening, health counselling, community support, counselling and psychological support. The programmes are designed to ensure that children have access to essential services, such as education, health services and psycho-social support. Families are assisted with income generation. They also receive help when dealing with the authorities. People's parental skills and awareness of children's rights are improved.