November 16 2011

Official opening of new SOS Children's Village in Niger

14/11/2011 - SOS Children's Village Dosso was officially inaugurated on 8 November by Niger's First Lady, Dr Malika Issoufou Mahamadou, in the presence of thousands of guests.

Photo: Catherine Flore Ngo Biyack
The SOS Children's Village in Dosso - Photo: C. Flore Ngo Biyack
Among the guests at SOS Children's Village Dosso were international donors, administrative, political, religious and traditional authorities, representatives of the diplomatic missions and international organisations as well as people from the surrounding communities.

Thanks to the efforts of several donors from Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, about 120 little boys and girls can henceforth have a real childhood; have dreams and future prospects. Like Ouma, Haïchatou and Abdou, there are several children who, until turning ten, had never been to school. Very early on, and despite their young age, they were already involved in roles traditionally reserved to adults. Some were forced to do petty trading, whereas others had to beg not only to meet their own needs, but those of the whole family.

Photo: Catherine Flore Ngo Biyack
David Goldrake, illuionist and ambassador of SOS Children's Villages Luxembourg, entertained the children with magic - Photo: C. Flore Ngo Biyack 
First Lady acknowledges the work of SOS Children's Villages in Niger

First Lady Dr Malika Issoufou Mahamadou said she was particularly impressed by the organisation of the work, as well as the quality of attention for the children. Sama Rassi, who had just started working as an SOS mother two months ago, had the honour of receiving this distinguished guest in her family house: "She tightly took my hand. She appreciated my family house a lot, saying that it was clean and well-decorated. She spoke with my baby. She carried him and cherished him, while wishing him to be the future president of Niger", she confided with emotion.

The Minister of Population, the Promotion of Women and Protection of the Child, Hadiza Maikibi Dan Dobi, said she was proud of the work of SOS Children's Villages which goes in line with government policy. "SOS Children's Village Dosso is the perfect illustration of the fight against distress of children in all ways", she said. While recognising that the new SOS Children's Villages programme is a pride for Dosso, in particular, and the whole country in general, the governor of Dosso, Amadou Babalé invited parents to protect their children by putting them outside danger. He personally committed to supporting the new village in achieving its goal.

New social programmes planned

Speaking on behalf of SOS Children's Villages International, regional director Ms Vania Asenova redrew the route of SOS Children's Villages in Niger, not without reminding listeners that the country at this day counted three SOS Children's Villages with a capacity to take in 120 children each; seven SOS Youth Facilities for 80 young people, two family strengthening programmes with 1,016 beneficiaries and two medical centres for some 2,500 patients per year. And she announced the setting-up of a third family strengthening programme in Dosso very soon, as well as the start of a fourth SOS Children's Villages programme in Maradi, in the east of Niger.

SOS Children's Village Dosso is located about 136 km east of the capital of Niamey. Dosso has an estimated 1,506,000 inhabitants who mainly live on agriculture and livestock. Great parts of the population are living in poverty with limited access to food, education and health care. The new programme has a capacity for 120 children in SOS families, a socio-medical centre, an SOS Kindergarten and an SOS Primary School. These facilities are of great contribution to the level of education of children and medical services for the communities sorely lacking in the region.