June 11 2007
Children sing to open SOS Children's Village Samarkand
11/06/2007 - Nine-year-old Dilmurod woke up at 6:30 a.m. as usual, finished his traditional morning gymnastics and went outside to water the flowers. It was the beginning of another day, but this morning was a little different from other mornings: the boy's home - SOS Children's Village Samarkand in Uzbekistan - was to be opened officially.
Helmut Kutin, President of SOS Children's Villages, along with local religious leaders, cut the ribbon of Uzbekistan’s second children's village on 8 June. "We, together with the German SOS Children's Village association, bring you greetings and good wishes from all over the world from the people who made this new village reality," said Kutin.
Addressing his message to SOS mothers and emphasising the importance of their work to ensure children's futures, Kutin said, "We hope that these children have come into your hearts and minds – not only to the houses. I hope that when I come back to Samarkand one day, one of the children will be the mayor of Samarkand."
The current mayor of Samarkand said that the whole region appreciates the work of SOS Children's Villages Uzbekistan, and expressed his support: "Now we have the village where 52 youngsters currently receive attention and care every single day. The occupants of this children's village will never experience a lack of our attention, either."
He forwarded a message from the First Lady of Uzbekistan, Tatyana Akbarova, who also donated gifts to the newly opened village: a computer class and a bus. After the speeches, the ceremony continued with a small concert by children from the village, local kindergartens and schools. There were performances for all tastes - starting from songs and poetry and ending with a German polka, U-Shu (Vietnamese combat-style) training group and Uzbekistan's traditional dance. The SOS song sung both in Uzbek and in English overshadowed all of these performances, and was sung in unison by all the concert's performers.
The enthusiasm displayed in singing the SOS song caused the guests to stand up and applaud, in some cases to wipe away tears. In the end, the guests joined the children in song and dance. Singing together with Helmut Kutin was the highlight of the day for Dilmurod, a boy who has been living in the children's village for a month: "I like the song; I learned it in a week. It was great that the guests came to sing and dance with us. I can't explain it, but I like to be here. I don't know why, but I feel great here."
SOS Children's Village Samarkand began admitting children in summer 2005. While the children’s village was under construction, mothers and children lived in rented flats. In August 2006, they moved to the village, and now 52 children live in 12 family houses. Both child admission and mothers' recruitment processes are ongoing. The village in Samarkand is the second in Uzbekistan. In 2001, SOS Children's Village Tashkent opened, where today there are 100 children living in 14 family houses.