February 26 2009

Official inauguration of SOS Children's Village in Togo

25/02/2009 - On 17 February 2009, SOS Children's Village Dapaong was officially inaugurated by the President of SOS Children's Villages, Helmut Kutin, in the presence of high politics, administrative, religious and traditional authorities, representatives of civil society and international organisations, as well as several people from the surrounding communities.

Photo: SOS Archives
Children from the SOS Children's Village in Dapaong performed traditional dances - Photo: SOS Archives

The inauguration of the Dapaong's village was much awaited. The children and their SOS mothers have been warmly expecting this important moment since more than a year. Indeed, SOS Children's Village Dapaong received its first children on 16 June 2007, a symbolic date marking the 17th edition of the African Child's Day.

According to Amina Kodjovi, director of SOS Children's Villages in Togo, this date which was not chosen at random was an occasion to mark the commitment of the organisation in the protection of the children, their rights and their dignity.

The children took an active part in the inauguration ceremony. They were divided in several groups to perform poems, choirs, classic and traditional dances for their guests. At the same time, the SOS mothers were in the kitchen to cook the meal to be taken at the end of the ceremony.

Photo: SOS Archives
President Kutin has cut the ribbon - Photo: SOS Archives

Before cutting the symbolic ribbon, President Helmut Kutin thanked the local authorities for all the efforts granted in the construction of an SOS Children's Village in Dapaong. These thanks also went towards Mr Kreibohm, without whom this project would not have been a reality.

Dapaong is located at about 638 km north from the country's capital Lomé. The newly inaugurated SOS Children's Village is the third in Togo. It is made of twelve family houses, an SOS Kindergarten, an SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School, a canteen where children eat during breaks, and an SOS Socio-Medical Centre. The kindergarten and the primary school which are operational since 2007, offer quality education to children from the village, as well as those from the surrounding communities. The educational facilities are highly frequented as Dapaong lacks school infrastructures, being among the poorest regions in Togo. As for the socio-medical centre, it is very important as it serves for primary health care, community outreach programmes and HIV/AIDS prevention among other. This will be a very much needed help for the surrounding population because health-care facilities and dispensaries have been deteriorated during the times of political instability.

The inauguration of the SOS Children's Village Dapaong coincided with the 30th anniversary of SOS Children's Villages in Togo and this contributed to give another dimension to the event. The representative of the minister for social welfare seized the opportunity to praise the work of SOS Children's Villages which has already taken care of more than 1,000 children in the villages and family strengthening programmes since 30 years, when the first village was built in the capital Lomé, in 1979.