December 8 2003
Princess Salimah Aga Khan visits Mexico, El Salvador and Panama
08/12/2003 - SOS Children's Villages Ambassador Princess Salimah Aga Khan was on a tour of Mexico, El Salvador and Panama last week, to promote the international children's welfare organisation and visit its facilities in these countries. Among the many prominent guests receiving the Princess were the first ladies of El Salvador and Panama.
Earlier last week, the Princess visited SOS Children's Village facilities in Mexico and El Salvador. Her visits there received wide national media coverage. Her six-day tour through the region ended on Saturday with a visit to SOS Children's Village facilities in Panama.
During her two-day visit to Mexico, the Princess held several press conferences to promote SOS Children's Villages and awarded two national celebrities the title of SOS Children's Villages Ambassador: the Mexican singer Guadalupe Pineda and the Televisa television presenter Raúl Velasco.
In her speech at the presentation, Princess Salimah Aga Khan said: "I joined SOS Children's Villages after my first visit to their facilities in Polynesia, where I was also able to meet the children. At SOS Children's Villages a positive change can be seen in the children after a single year."
Addressing the new SOS Children's Village Ambassadors, the Princess said: "In the name of all of the children of SOS Children's Villages, I offer you all my gratitude for having accepted this invitation."
Velasco responded by saying: "We will attempt to follow your footsteps and contribute to the well-being of the children in the care of SOS Children's Villages." Pineda said: "The more the world is convulsed by hunger and wars, of which the children are the victims, the more I can understand their pain and misery. This is why I decided to join SOS Children's Villages."
In Mexico, the Princess paid visits to the SOS Children's Villages in Huehuetoca and Comitán, Chiapas, where the children warmly welcomed her and staged regional dances in her honour. She also visited the SOS Children's Village Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, for children with special needs.
SOS Children's Villages first established a presence in Mexico in the early 1970s and currently runs seven children's villages, three youth facilities, four kindergartens, four vocational training centres and six social centres.
In El Salvador, the country's first lady Lourdes R. de Flores was among the many prominent guests receiving the Princess, who held a press conference and was then invited for a cocktail at the Presidential Residence. El Salvador's first lady joined the Princess in her visit to the SOS Social Centre and the SOS Children's Village in Sonsonate, where the pair and other guests had lunch with SOS mothers.
SOS Children's Villages launched its humanitarian work in El Salvador in the early 1970s and currently runs four children's villages, five youth facilities, three kindergartens, one vocational training centre and two social centres there.
The Princess then traveled to Panama where she visited the SOS Children's Village Panama and the SOS Transit Home Colón. Many prominent guests received the Princess, including the country's first lady Ruby Moscoso de Young and Juan Carlos Navarro Q., the Mayor of Panama.
Princess Salimah Aga Khan was officially awarded the title of "SOS-Kinderdorf International Ambassador for Children" at a ceremony in Gopalpur, India in November 2000.
The Princess, a British national who was born in New Dehli and currently resides in Geneva, has previously visited also SOS Children's Villages in Nepal, Pakistan, Rumania, Egypt, South Africa and Austria.