October 29 2012

Mayor of Berlin welcomes the new President of SOS Children's Villages

29/10/2012 - On 23 October, Siddhartha Kaul, new President of SOS Children's Villages International, arrived in Germany for his inaugural visit. First stop: Berlin. Mayor Klaus Wowereit himself prepared a welcome at the SOS Vocational Training Centre. The mayor honoured Siddhartha Kaul's more than 30 year commitment for SOS Children's Villages and asked him to continue supporting and encouraging children, youths and families in Germany and worldwide.

Photo: Picture Alliance Jan Haas
Mayor Klaus Wowereit and Siddhartha Kaul who is signing the guestbook of the City of Berlin © Picture Alliance Jan Haas
Trainees of the SOS Vocational Training Centre Berlin, the board and the managing director of SOS-Kinderdorf e.V. (the German SOS Children's Villages association), many friends and supporters gave Siddhartha Kaul a warm welcome. All of them appreciated the mayor’s kind and encouraging words. In her speech, Dr Gitta Trauernicht, board member of SOS-Kinderdorf e.V. and Vice-President of SOS Children's Villages International, emphasised that for more than 60 years, SOS Children's Villages has been offering space for exchange and encounter, for different visions and beliefs - not just in Berlin, but all over the world.

Siddhartha Kaul was especially impressed with the personal visit of the Mayor of Berlin to the SOS Vocational Training Centre: "This testifies to the big respect you have for our youth, our co-workers and our work in general." On behalf of the federal state of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit thanked all the donors and volunteers as it is due to their help that children and youth can be supported according to their needs.

Great gesture: Children donate their pocket money for Syria © Picture Alliance Jan Haas
One of the most emotional moments was the meeting with six pupils from the E.O.-Plauen Primary School in Berlin-Kreuzberg. A group of mainly Muslim children had saved their pocket money during Ramadan and proudly handed over the amount of 200 Euros to Siddhartha Kaul. With this money the students want to help the children in the SOS Children's Villages in Syria and show their solidarity. Siddhartha Kaul, visibly moved by this sincere gesture, thanked the children from the bottom of his heart and praised the children’s initiative as a striking example of how important the support from Germany is for the international work of SOS Children's Villages.

Following the event at the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Berlin-Wedding, the nearby SOS Children's Village in Berlin-Moabit - the first of its kind in an urban agglomeration - was next on the president's itinerary. Finally, Siddhartha Kaul visited the first German SOS Children's Village in Dießen at the Ammersee at the exact opposite end of the German Republic.