January 26 2005
Inauguration of SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Cambodia
26/01/2005 - In the presence of numerous guests of honour and thousands of people from the neighbourhood, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday inaugurated the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Angkor-Siem Reap.
The Minister for Social Affairs, representatives from foreign embassies in Cambodia, representatives from other NGOs, SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin and Nim Thoth, president of SOS Children's Villages Cambodia, accompanied by a huge SOS Children's Village delegation, were all present at the inauguration ceremony. More than 300 school children and about 5,000 people from the neighbourhood made the inauguration of the new school in Siem Reap a grand event.
In his inauguration speech, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said: "SOS Children's Villages in Cambodia bring back human dignity in the children - they give children a real home. The Hermann Gmeiner School in Angkor-Siem Reap helps create favourable conditions so that children from a poor background can go to school and can have a promising future."
The new school has been in operation since September 2004. Currently, 320 students attend classes there. At full capacity, the school caters for 500 children in twelve forms (primary and secondary school) and three kindergarten groups.
The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School is attached to the SOS Children's Village in the same location near the world-famous temples and Royal Palace of Angkor which were built in the period from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The SOS Children's Village was the second to be built in Cambodia after the one in Phnom Penh and has been operative since 2002.
In September 2004, an SOS Vocational Training Centre for 45 youths from the neighbourhood also opened its gates. At the vocational training centre, students are trained free of charge to become electricians, car mechanics, joiners, plumbers and electro technicians.
In Battambang, a third SOS Children's Village is currently under construction. Three of 15 family houses to be established were earmarked for SOS families with children suffering from AIDS and will be an integral part of the SOS Children's Village.