Eveline Erlsbacher

SOS Children's Villages History Documentation Advisor SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy

My life and career with SOS CV - A Passion

When I joined the SOS Children’s Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy in 2004 I was first in charge of our catering services at the Seminar Centre.

I was very happy about this chance to continue my career after a long period as a single mother of three boys. The decision to join SOS Children’s Villages was a decision of my heart: I love to work with and for people, to make them feel good, to establish relationships and work in a team.

A few years later Christian Honold, Executive Director of the Academy, initiated the Documentation of SOS Children’s Villages. I was promoted to this very fascinating and inspiring area of work. We take an inventory of records, digitalising the artistic heritage and cultural assets as well as historical documents and photos that document the history of SOS Children’s Villages.

I personally felt like a circle was closed and another was opened. Each of them was touched by the other in many ways. Let me describe this feeling to you:
My first touch point with SOS Children’s Villages was nearly 50 years earlier: I, together with my three siblings, got a loving home at an SOS Children’s Village at Moosburg, in the southern province of Austria, Carinthia.

At the age of seven I finally had the chance to be a child and live in a protected and beneficial environment, attended to and promoted into a self-contained life. I learned to trust myself and others. I learned to love and to manage life crises. I found a way into a ‘normal life’, because of these beneficial experiences of reliable relationships and friendships. This was Hermann Gmeiner’s dream for all the children of SOS Children’s Villages Programmes.

Now as an SOS co-worker, responsible for documenting the history of SOS Children Villages, I am able to connect my job with my passion: History in general, the SOS history in particular, because it is part of my own life story. With its strong roots and very engaging development, SOS Children’s Villages has a touching history! It is a story of people doing great and sustainable work – from the very beginning until today. That fills my heart with gratefulness and the reasonable hope that also in the future children at risk and their families will find the helping hands and feeling hearts they need – as I myself have gotten.

Now, during the Harvesting workshop 2014 I met you: SOS co-workers from all over the world. I realised that you all are actually writing a further chapter of the SOS history. You touched my heart and I felt the power of your engaged, courageous and tender-hearted way of contributing to our joint vision: A loving home for every child.

Eveline Erlsbacher

joined the SOS Children’s Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy in February 2004.

She initially was in charge of catering services in the Seminar Centre. In 2008, when “Documentation” (Memory) was established in the Academy, Eveline was promoted to take over the responsibility for a very fascinating issue: The documentation of the history of SOS CV. Eveline’s tasks are varied. Together with a professional historian she built up an archive database for documents and photos as well as a digitised film archive. So she is able to respond to inquiries about the history of SOS CV. The documentation team also publishes books about SOS CV and arranges exhibitions.

For Eveline her job is much more than a job! Her very own first contact with SOS CV was in 1964. Together with her brothers and sisters she got a loving home at the SOS CV in Moosburg, Carinthia. There they spent a protected childhood, promoted and supported to gain ground in a self-contained life. The most important feeling she experienced there was the security of belonging to a family, to be a normal member of society. Not more and not less, as Hermann Gmeiner said. In 1971 Eveline came to an SOS youth programme in Innsbruck because the secondary school she attended was there. Eveline has three sons, whom she raised as a single mother for quite some time. She is very happy that all of them – grown-ups now – are on a good path. Eveline’s SOS mother is her children’s grandma. Moosburg will always be in her heart: a place to come home, a home. This is why the SOS Children’s Villages history is part of Eveline’s individual history too.