Emergence of the Hermann Gmeiner Academy

The seminar house in Amras

The SOS Children's Village Hermann Gmeiner Academy

From the outside, it has been a familiar sight for almost three decades. After a refurbishment in 2007, it changed a bit, but did not really alienate it: The SOS Children's Village Hermann Gmeiner Academy on the eastern outskirts of Innsbruck, in Amras.

The SOS Children's Village - a non-profit organization of world importance

It all began in 1949 with the vision of the young medical student Hermann Gmeiner and a few courageous companions: children who, for various reasons, are not lucky enough to be children under the protection and security of a family, to give them a new home intercepts and lovingly accompanies.

The idea is as simple as it is successful: a mother, siblings, the house and the village form a dense network of reliable, social relationships. Today, SOS Children's Villages is represented in 132 countries around the world.

The first SOS Children's Village Youth House

When the first generation of SOS Children's Village children in Imst had outgrown compulsory schooling, in the mid-fifties it was time to find suitable apprenticeships or secondary schools. In view of the needs of the following years, it was decided to found an SOS Youth Center in Innsbruck, because the big city offered more training opportunities.

Soon a suitable object was found: In Amras, opposite the former "Egerdach Spa", a building of the TGKK could be acquired. The first SOS Children's Village youth facility was opened in early 1956 with nine adolescents under the direction of Rudolf Maurhard. Maurhard was a pioneer of SOS youth work, which has left its mark on the history of SOS Children's Villages for many years. Although now retired, he has remained Amraser and at heart a "Kinderdörfler".

A new building will be necessary

In the following years, SOS Children's Villages were established in all federal states and Innsbruck still had the only youth facility in which young people from all over Austria were admitted. In 1958, the decision to build a new building was taken due to the enormous influx and implemented quickly. With its sports and leisure facilities (nature right on the doorstep, football field, gymnasium) this facility was unique in the youth care at that time. Soon, however, this new building reached the limits of its capacity. At peak times there were up to a hundred teenagers who wanted to be accompanied, supported and cared for.

Apart from the fact that these "large groups" spoke against the pedagogical concept of family-friendly SOS care, for many of the young people who had just begun to gain a foothold in their SOS family, the relocation meant another painful break in theirs personal story.

As a result, SOS Children's Villages Youth Facilities were soon established in all Austrian provincial capitals. On the one hand, it was possible to make use of the broader range of urban education and, on the other hand, to maintain contact with the SOS mother, siblings and the familiar social environment through the relative proximity to the SOS Children's Village.

The Hermann Gmeiner Academy is born

In 1979, Hermann Gmeiner initiated the planning and construction of the SOS Children's Village Hermann Gmeiner Academy. This came from the following considerations: From the 60s and especially in the 70s of the 20th century, the humanitarian SOS Children's Village idea is expanding worldwide. The needs of children in distress remain unchanged: they need healing experiences in a nest that warms, protects and encourages them on their way to a self-determined future.

Since SOS Children's Villages is native to all cultures, ethnicities and religions, the social framework and conditions vary as children learn about the SOS Children's Villages. Depending on the need, there are SOS Children's Villages families: SOS schools, medical and therapeutic facilities, social centers, workshops and others.

The globalization of the SOS Children's Village idea on the one hand, and the socio-cultural diversity in the child labor world on the other hand place high demands on the professional and social skills of its employees. With its offer, the Hermann Gmeiner Academy creates a framework for promoting and supporting national and international SOS Children's Villages work.

In order to realize the construction, the old building of the youth house was demolished and built in its place, the large, nestled close to the hillside house. The "new" youth house, which was connected with the academy, remained for the time being as such, before the young people moved to Telfs in the early nineties and the vacant building was adapted as the seat of SOS Children's Villages International.

Why are not children here?

In November 1981, the construction work was completed, this is also the legal founding month of the Association SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy, in May 1982, the official opening of the house.

It occupies a special position within the "SOS Children's Village Landscape". When you talk to people from the surrounding area, you are often confronted with the question, "Why do not you see any children with you?" The answer is simple: no children are cared for here! At least not immediately.

Designed as a "spiritual home" for the education and training of SOS Children's Villages employees around the world, the SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy has spent more than two decades focusing on quality assurance and quality development as well as the further development of the SOS Children's Villages idea , In terms of content, some of these areas have recently also been incorporated in the structure of SOS Children's Villages International. The two houses are connected by a good, close cooperation.

To take the bow back: Even if you do not find any children with us - we are a seminar and education center for SOS Children's Villages employees from all over the world but there for those children who are entrusted to the SOS Children's Village.

The Hermann Gmeiner Academy - an open house

We invite you to come and visit us! In addition, we look forward to welcoming you to public events.