October 8 2010

SOS Children's Village inaugurated in the birthplace of Buddha

08/10/2010 - The president of Nepal His Excellency Dr Rambaran Yadav, the Governor of Tyrol Mr. Günther Platter and other dignitaries from Austria and Nepal attended the inauguration of the ninth Nepalese SOS Children's Village in Lumbini, continuing the long-standing tradition of the organisation's work in the Himalayan kingdom.

Photo: SOS Archives
Up to 150 children will find a home and a family in the ninth SOS Children's Village in Nepal - Photo: SOS Archives

The newest addition to the family of SOS Children's Villages in Nepal was given the honor of being inaugurated by Dr Rambaran Yadav, the First President of Nepal. The commitment of SOS Children's Villages in Nepal began more than 40 years ago, when the founder of the organisation Hermann Gmeiner visited the country and made the accquaintance of members of the royal family, which led to the construction of the first SOS Children's Village in Nepal in 1973.

Thirty-seven years later, the new SOS Children's Village in Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage site said to be the birthplace of Buddha, brings the total up to nine villages, not to mention the many other facilities and programmes that SOS Children's Villages runs in the country such as schools, medical centres, vocational training centres and social centres that operate various family strengthening programmes. Recalling the spirit of Hermann Gmeiner, the president of SOS Children's Villages Helmut Kutin said "From the mountains of the Tyrol to those of Nepal, we want to join hands for commitment to the neglected, abandoned children".

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the lack of infrastructure leaves many of the countless children who are abandoned or orphaned - mainly due to causes related to poverty - with nobody to care for them. In his speech which addressed the children, the SOS mothers and the guests attending the inauguration, Mr. Günther Platter, the Governor of Tyrol said, "the idea of SOS Children's Villages has spread around the world. It has built millions of homes for children who have been left without families and parental care. With the SOS Children's Village, we all have the privilege of growing up in a family".

The Austrian region of Tyrol played a central role in the construction of this particular village, as it financed eight of the 15 family houses, administrative buildings and the SOS Kindergarten that make up the village, with the capacity to accomodate 150 children (there are currently 80 children living in the village). Governor Platter had committed to this contribution on the occasion of the festivities celebrating the 60th anniversary of SOS Children's Villages in Imst in 2009.

The shortage of skilled labour among the workforce of Nepal and high levels of illiteracy mean that children and young people face bleak perspectives for the future, and providing them with education is therefore one of the country's most pressing needs. The president of Nepal, His Excellency Dr Rambaran Yadav, expressed his gratitude towards SOS Children's Villages for sharing the concerns of his government in ensuring a bright future for Nepal's children.

At present there are nine SOS Children's Villages in Nepal, seven SOS Youth Facilities, eight SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, three SOS Vocational Training Centres, eight SOS Social Centres with family-strengthening programmes and one SOS Medical Centre.