May 5 2011

Sierra Leone: SOS Children's Villages awarded by President

02/05/2011 - On 26th April, Mr Helmut Kutin, President of SOS Children’s Villages International, was awarded Commander of the Order of Rokel* in recognition of the relentless support SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone has offered to the orphaned, destitute and abandoned children of Sierra Leone over the past 36 years.

Photo: SOS Archives
Mr Olatungie Woode about to receive the award from the hands of President Bai Koroma - Photo: SOS Archives

The award ceremony took place at the State House in Freetown, the capital city and was part of the activities marking the 50th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence.

In his address, Sierra Leone’s President, Mr Ernest Bai Koroma, stated that “SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone through the unflinching commitment and dedication of President Helmut Kutin has provided a loving home for orphans, destitute and abandoned children”.

Standing ovations

Receiving the award on behalf of Mr Helmut Kutin, Mr Olatungie Woode, Director of SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone, was greeted with standing ovations as SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone was the only non-governmental organisation to have been recognised for its commitment to the welfare of children.

Photo: Claire Ladavicius
In 1974 the first children moved into the SOS Children's Village in Freetown - Photo: Claire Ladavicius
The ceremony, witnessed by government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, parliamentarians, senior civil servants and NGOs, also saw the conferment of national awards to 33 people from all walks of life in recognition of their distinguished services to Sierra Leone. The event was climaxed with a reception and a banquet at the House of Parliament.

* The Sierra Leone National Presidential Awards include that of Grand Officers of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Commanders of the Order of Rokel.