February 9 2010

Angelina Jolie visits SOS Children's Village in Haiti

09/02/2010 - The SOS Children's Village in Port-au-Prince was honoured today to receive one of the NGO's most loyal supporters: UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie was eager to see for herself the progress being made by the SOS emergency relief programme for the children of a country that will have to be rebuilt from scratch.

Photo: Robert Gasteiger
Angelina Jolie is welcomed by the children from the SOS Social Centre in Santo - Photo: Robert Gasteiger
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited the SOS Children's Village in Port-au-Prince today to express her support for the organisation and its work in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. Ms. Jolie was visiting the country, one of the poorest in the world, just four weeks after the disaster in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the children in Haiti.

During her stay, she took the time to visit two SOS families who have each taken in four children, all brothers and sisters in both cases, who were amongst those 33 children about to be illegally removed from the country when the authorities intervened. Providing temporary care for unaccompanied children whose family situation could so far not be clarified is SOS Children's Villages' main focus in Haiti. In those cases where it has been firmly established that there are no remaining family members capable of providing adequate care for them, long-term care within an SOS family is a viable option.

Ms. Jolie also showed great interest in learning about another aspect of SOS Children's Villages' emergency relief programme in Haiti: to provide some 30,000 children with food, medical supplies and treatment as well as trauma therapy through the community centres it runs in the surrounding communities. Some 5,000 children are already benefiting from these efforts, which are being strongly supported by the staff and equipment provided by the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. SOS Children's Villages plans a large-scale reconstruction programme over the next 10 years.

Photo: Robert Gasteiger
Angelina Jolie has expressed her support for the work of SOS Children's Villages in Haiti - Photo: Robert Gasteiger

Angelina Jolie has been an outspoken and loyal supporter of SOS Children's Villages for years and has visited both the trauma therapy centre run by SOS Children's Villages within one of the refugee camps in Chad for people fleeing Darfur and an SOS Children's Village in Amman, Jordan. The Jolie/Pitt Foundation she created together with her partner Brad Pitt has donated funds to the organisation on more than one occasion.

SOS Children's Villages has been working to provide children without - or at risk of losing - parental care for over 60 years. Founded in Austria in 1949, it currently runs more than 2,000 social programmes in 132 countries, including 500 SOS Children's Villages.

Read the full story about Angelina Jolie's visit on the UNHCR's website!