Sam Dech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin officially inaugurated the first Cambodian SOS Children's Village on 10 January 2002 in the presence of a number of prominent officials and local people. The ceremony took place following the admission of the Cambodian SOS Children's Village Association into the umbrella organisation SOS-Kinderdorf International last November.
SOS Children's Village Phnom Penh had just been completed last July 2001 when the first children, boys and girls of different ages, moved into their new home. 103 children currently live in the SOS Children's Village, preparations to take in more are underway. Up to 140 children can be accommodated in the 14 Cambodian-style family houses.
Many of the children, who are aged between three to twelve years old, were unable to live with their parents in the precarious social and economic situation after the war. Now they have found protection and security with their SOS mothers, and for the first time in their lives have the opportunity to go to school. An SOS Kindergarten for around 150 pre-school children has also opened its doors and is attended by children from the local community.
The signing of an agreement with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Employment, Vocational Training and Youth Welfare in 1999 gave a decisive impetus to the work of SOS Children's Villages in Cambodia. In the meantime, cooperation with this south-east Asian country marked by decades of war and civil war has developed so well, that a second SOS Children's Village is already being built in Siem Riep, near the temple of Angkor Wat.