July 2 2010

Vitali Klitschko attends opening of Ukraine's first SOS Children's Village

02/07/2010 - As the Ukranian world champion in heavyweight boxing Vitali Klitschko looked on, another Vitaly, aged two, the youngest inhabitant of the Ukraine's very first SOS Children's Village in Brovary, was given the symbolic key.

Photo: Marko Mägi
Ukraine's first SOS children's village will allow up to 80 children at a time to hope for a better future - Photo: Marko Mägi

Numerous guests enjoyed the perfect weather at the official opening of SOS Children's Village Brovary near Kiev in the Ukraine as President of SOS Children's Villages International Helmut Kutin handed the symbolic key over to the youngest inhabitant of the village, 2-year-old Vitaliy, to declare the village open.

Mr Kutin stressed the tremendous amount of time and effort that went into the construction of the village and also pointed out how much SOS Children's Villages owed to Vitali Klitschko, who was a member of the city council at the time and helped speed matters up. "Mr Klitschko is not only a world champion, but also a dear friend to his small brothers and sisters in the Ukraine. He has given us tremendous support and understanding, and has made it possible for us to stand here today and dedicate this village to the children of the Ukraine", Kutin said.

Photo: Marko Mägi
Vitali Klitschko is hugely popular in the Ukraine, his country of origin - Photo: Marko Mägi

At the moment, there are just nine family houses; but by next year the village will likely have more than 80 children in 13 family houses. But as Mr. Kutin pointed out, there will be more villages in the Ukraine in the future. "Together with our friends we are going for the second village in Ukraine in one year's time and, hopefully, later also for the third. There will never be enough SOS Children's Villages, which is why we have a second line of work - family strengthening projects designed to support families so that children can stay together with their biological families."

Vitali Klitschko has been supporting the project since it began in 2003 and was clearly overjoyed to see it finally brought to fruition: "This is still the first step and I hope it's a good example for the next steps - I hope this is not the last village in the Ukraine. It took a lot of energy to explain to people that we need such projects which are recognised in the whole world and that we need them first of all for our own society, because these children are our tomorrow's day, our future and they will influence the future of our country and ourselves."

Photo: Marko Mägi
Helmut Kutin thanked Mr. Klitschko for his help in making the SOS Children's Village Brovary a reality - Photo: Marko Mägi

Klitschko thanked all people who supported the project. "I want to thank everybody who understood and supported this wonderful project. Thank you! I wish that you - the children - can enjoy learning and, the main thing - to be good children and to be kind persons. Thank you to everybody for this wonderful place, where children will grow up, learn and discover a new world for themselves".

There are currently 42 children in nine family houses at SOS Children's Village Brovary, some 25 kilometres from Kiev. Before the opening of the village, the families lived in rented flats from 2006 to December 2009. SOS Children's Villages Ukraine also runs a family strengthening programme which started in Kiev in 2003 and in Brovary in 2005. Currently, 240 families (535 children) are beneficiaries of the programme.