December 21 2001
Retracing our footprints: A review of 2001
21/12/2002 - Help for thousands more children and families in need, swift response in times of crisis, children playing for peace and celebrating twenty years of international educational research: 2001 was another busy year for SOS Children's Villages.
Last year, SOS Children's Villages continued to break new ground: more than 50 new SOS Children's Village facilities opened their doors on four continents to society's most vulnerable members. Just a few examples: children moved into the second Palestinian SOS Children's Village in Rafah in the Gaza Strip in spite of intensified conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. Unaccompanied, young refugees found a temporary home and support at the new Transit Home in Salzburg (Austria). Families who previously had little or no access to medical care were given vital support at the SOS Medical Centre in Umtata (South Africa).
Good progress was made on the new SOS Social Centre in Pristina (Kosovo), which will be used as a transit home for orphaned babies. Fifteen babies between the ages of six and eighteen months are already being cared for in rented accommodation until construction work on the centre is complete.
In response to the rapidly growing numbers of people affected by HIV/AIDS, SOS Children's Villages stepped up its work to take action against the disease, notably in the world's worst-hit region, southern Africa. Preventative measures and care for affected and infected families were continued and further strengthened in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. A number of outreach programmes were also developed in the form of social worker and volunteer visits to child-headed or grandparent-headed families; provision of housing, clothing, nutrition, medical care, psycho-social support and payment of school fees.
New emergency aid programmes kicked into action to provide both immediate and long-term assistance to the Afghan refugees on the borders of Pakistan, flood and war victims in Angola, families and children displaced by war in Burundi and earthquake victims in El Salvador and India. In many places, SOS Children's Village co-workers, children, young people and mothers set to work almost immediately after disaster struck to collect and distribute emergency supplies of food, medicines and building materials to their neighbours in need. Larger programmes were run in cooperation with governments in Pakistan, India, El Salvador and India as well as UN agencies and other NGOs.
SOS Children's Villages and Play Soccer teamed up with a coalition of NGOs to organise the Global Peace Games for Children and Youth. SOS Children's Village sites all around the world played host to friendly football matches and cultural activities, which aimed to highlight the central role of the world's children and young people in bringing about a culture of peace in their daily lives, families, communities and country.
In Finland, SOS Children's Villages was appointed official charity partner to the Nordic World Ski Championships, which took place in Lahti in February.
SOS Children's Village and Kindergarten Aqaba, in southern Jordan, was one of nine projects to be awarded the prestigious "Aga Khan Award for Architecture" in November.
2001 marked the 20th anniversary of the Hermann Gmeiner Academy, and the launch of "Tracking Footprints". This new, international study into the lives of former SOS children aims to evaluate the effectiveness of SOS Children's Villages' pedagogic work. Just one of the many workshops organised for SOS co-workers, "Living the Spirit", discussed the needs, developments and the position of SOS Children's Villages in today's context of European youth care.