November 7 2003
Official inauguration of eighth SOS Children's Village in Nepal
07/11/2003 - On 9 November, the eighth SOS Children's Village will be inaugurated in Bharatpur in the Himalayas Kingdom. The new SOS Children's Village will not only provide 150 children with a new home but will also, through its supporting facilities, make an important contribution to securing social welfare services in the crisis-ridden country.
On the occasion of his 60th birthday two years ago, SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin called for the urgently needed construction of a new SOS Children's Village in Bharatpur. Bharatpur is located in the central part of that desperately poor country in the shadow of the eternal ice giants. This call for help attracted overwhelming positive response, and construction work could be started in August 2002 based on financial support provided by Austrian, German and Italian donors. Swiss donors will make construction of a planned social centre possible.
The new SOS Children's Village will be opened officially on 9 November in the presence of President Kutin, representatives of the local authorities and a great number of friends and supporters. Richard Meredith, who together with his friend Phil McNerney travelled from London to South Korea in 115 days in a Daewoo family car, will also be among the guests. After a huge number of visits to SOS Children's Villages which were important stops on the adventure trip through 25 countries, the two Brits finally reached SOS Children's Village Daegu, which, being the first SOS Children's Village outside Europe, celebrated its 40th anniversary a month ago.
On the occasion of the successfully accomplished "Daewoo Challenge", a donation of EUR 60,000 was made by General Motors Daewoo and given to representatives of SOS Children's Villages South Korea, who in turn forwarded the money to SOS Children's Villages Nepal. This is why one family house in Bharatpur bears the name "GM Daewoo House". Said Marc Kempe of GM Daewoo Europe in his message of greeting: "It is a great honour for us to know that a family from Bharatpur will be living in the 'GM Daewoo House'. They will have their own 'Challenges' to face and we wish them every success. With an organisation as strong as yours to support them, we are sure they will prosper." (please find more on the "Daewoo Challenge" looking at the news of 13 October 2003).
The SOS Children's Village in Bharatpur consists of 14 family houses and the necessary ancillary buildings. It will provide app. 150 children with a new home on a long-term basis. Additionally, a kindergarten, a primary school (under construction; inauguration in May/June 2004) and a social centre housing a day-care centre and a health counselling and neighbourhood mutual support services centre will be available.
Nearly half of Nepal's population lives below the poverty line. Many of the people do not have access to school education or jobs, are not sufficiently being provided with health services and suffer from starvation. Many parents are not able to feed their children anymore. The children are being cared for by relatives or friends and have to perform heavy labour in lousy conditions there, or they end up as street children.
All SOS Children's Village facilities are open to families in need from the neighbourhood: For many, the daily meal at one of the social centres is the only food they can get. These facilities also make it possible to provide many families with the necessary support to go on with providing care to their children and even have them attend school.
SOS Children's Village activities in Nepal
First steps for commitment in Nepal were taken as early as 1968. The first SOS Children's Village was opened in Sanothimi in 1973. In the course of the following three decades, six SOS Children's Villages were built in Pokhara (for Tibetan children), Gandaki, Jorpati, Surkhet, Itahari and Kavre. More than 1,100 children are now being cared for in a family-like environment at the eight SOS Children's Villages. All in all, today there are 32 SOS Children's Village facilities in Nepal. Apart from the villages, there are also eight SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools including kindergartens, six social centres, six youth facilities, three vocational training centres and one medical centre.