April 28 2009

First Ladies of Syria and Austria visit SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl in Austria

28/04/2009 – During the state visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Vienna, his wife Asmaa and the wife of the Austrian President Margit Fischer visited SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl yesterday.

Photo: HBF/Lechner
Mrs Asmaa al-Assad (left) and Mrs Margit Fischer deep in conversation - Photo: HBF/Lechner

On Monday, the children at SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl excitedly prepared a welcome song, drawings and hand-made presents as they were expecting very important visitors. Asmaa al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian President, and Margit Fischer, the Austrian President's wife visited the SOS Children's Village during the year of the sixtieth anniversary of SOS Children's Villages.

There was no fear of contact on either side, so the First Ladies were soon deeply involved in conversation with the children. Asmaa al-Assad told little Tamara about her childhood: "When I was a little girl I had very long hair which I wore in plaits, just like you do. It took seven hours to plait my hair." Tamara was so impressed that all she could say was: "cool", and a little later: "Your hair is beautiful".

Photo: HBF/Lechner
Handing over presents to Syria's First Lady - Photo: HBF/Lechner

After the children had sung a song and handed over their presents, Asmaa al-Assad and Margit Fischer visited an SOS family house. The children showed them their rooms and talked about their daily routine. At the end of the visit there was cake for everyone and the children concluded: "The two ladies are really nice."

Asmaa al-Assad made the following entry in the visitor's book of the SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl: "To all the children in this lovely village. Thank you so much for a welcome I will never forget. I was thrilled to meet with you and talk to you. I wish you every success for your future. Make sure you become the best you can be and enjoy what life has to offer. With all my affection, Asmaa Assad"

SOS Children's Villages has been active in Syria since 1975. There are now two SOS Children's Villages, two SOS Youth Facilities, an SOS Kindergarten and an SOS Social Centre.

Heinz und Margit Fischer have cordial relations with SOS Children's Villages, which can be noted during their regular visits to SOS Children's Village facilities. They often try to visit a local SOS Children's Village during their state visits abroad. Last year, Margit Fischer visited SOS Children's Village Akaba in Jordan. And in February this year, when his wife was ill and had to stay at home, the President himself surprised the children at the SOS Children's Village in Vienna with a visit.