October 17 2005
Chad's first SOS Children's Village officially inaugurated
17/10/2005 - On 13 October, the first SOS Children's Village in Chad was officially inaugurated in the capital N'Djamena by Chad's Prime Minister, Mr Pascal Yoadimnadji. Members of the government and the diplomatic corps, high-ranking representatives of religious and political life, as well as hundreds of people from the surrounding area were present at the ceremony.
SOS Children's Villages was represented by a delegation of the Dutch SOS Children's Village association (which funded the village), Mr Aristide Ramaciotti, deputy secretary-general, Mr Carlos Staforelli, regional director for Central and West Africa, and Mr Christian Honold, executive director of the Hermann Gmeiner Academy (an international educational centre of the organisation).
The official part of the ceremony started with the Prime Minister unveiling the commemorative plaque. After that, he planted a tree as a symbol of prosperity for the new village and of a better future for all the children. This was followed by the ribbon-cutting. In his speech, the Minister of Social Action and Family, Mr Hassan Terap, explained how the newly inaugurated SOS Children's Village matches the government's objectives. "It means a significant contribution to our efforts in improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable people in general and the children in particular", he stressed.
Mr Yoadimnadji also paid a visit to some of the family houses and the supporting facilities - a kindergarten, a school and a medical centre. He had some talks with SOS mothers and other staff members and encouraged the children to promote peace and love inside and outside their families and to work hard towards becoming responsible members of society one day.
At the end of his visit, the Prime Minister appreciated the new village's excellent infrastructure and paid tribute to the founder of SOS Children's Villages, Hermann Gmeiner.
A jewel with a nickname
SOS Children's Villages is the first NGO to offer long-term family-based care for children in need in Chad. The new village symbolises the hope of an entire nation. "SOS Children's Village N'Djamena is an answer to the government's concern about the well-being of children in Chad. It is like a precious jewel which has to be preserved very carefully", as the Minister of Social Action and Family put it.
SOS Children's Village N'Djamena is located in the Diguel district (about 15 minutes away from the city centre) on a plot of land donated by the government. The cornerstone was laid on 1 April 2003, and March 2005 saw the first families move in. Today, all twelve family houses are 'fully occupied' by a total of 120 children. Because of its roofs, which are unique to the area, neighbours nicknamed the village "red roof area".
Other community work
Three more SOS Children's Village facilities which are mainly directed towards children from the local communities are located on the village premises. An SOS Kindergarten with a capacity to take in 60 children and an SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School for some 180 pupils opened their doors with the start of the new school year on 10 October 2005.
An SOS Medical Centre took up its operations internally in September 2005. As soon as the ordered medical devices and drugs will arrive, the centre will offer first aid, general medicines, general consultations as well as specific consultations in dermatology, paediatrics and gynaecology to up to 600 patients a month for free.
Chad is among the poorest countries in the world. 30 years of civil war had a devastating impact on the social, economic and medical infrastructure of the whole country, and particularly on the situation of the children. An estimated 10,000 orphans and abandoned children are reported to live in N'Djamena's streets where they are exposed to drugs, alcohol and prostitution.
Thanks to the support of our donors, SOS Children's Villages can offer a new start in a secure and loving environment to 120 of the most vulnerable children, as well as educational and medical services to hundreds of children and families from local communities in Chad's capital.