November 2 2011

SOS Children's Villages Côte d'Ivoire launches activities in the context of the 40-year-anniversary

25/10/2011 - Approximately 300 children, among them hundreds from the family strengthening programme, met in the yard of Abobo-Gare city hall on 19 October. It was for the "cleaning operation", marking the launch of 40 years of SOS Children's Villages in Africa. In Côte d'Ivoire, activities - which spread out over a month - will terminate on 19 November.

Photo: SOS Archives
Children and youth from the SOS Children's Village in Abobo-Gare are cleaning the surroundings of the city hall - Photo: SOS Archives
Apart from the children of SOS Children's Village Abobo-Gare, there were also those of the village in Aboisso and about fifty members of staff of both villages, as well as from the national office. The "operation" kicked off at 10am, by a procession in the sound of the music, led by the city hall band. The procession started from the city hall round-about towards the esplanade, where an immense crowd of curious onlookers was expecting the children.

The first symbolic quick clean was given by the representative of the mayor and the village director of SOS Children's Village Abobo-Gare, Mathias Kouassi Bath. During approximately two hours and thanks to their small effort, the children contributed to giving another look to the Abobo-Gare city hall and even to the surroundings. In small groups, they swept, cleaned the yard and collected garbage under the watchful eye of the educational co-workers who were accompanying them.

The authorities of the city hall had provided them with wheelbarrows, brooms, scarfs, mufflers and many other accessories to facilitate their work. The children were apparently very happy to be the main actors of this operation. To Mathias Kouassi Bath, this operation goes into the government programme to fighting against insalubrity. "By doing this, the objective is to inculcate the maintenance of public space to the children", he said.

Photo: SOS Archives
Youth from Abobo-Gare in full action for the benefit of the whole community - Photo: SOS Archives
In his speech, the representative for Abobo's mayor, Koné Siaka, thanked the children for having chosen his municipality to launch the commemoration of 40 years of SOS Children's Villages in Côte d'Ivoire. He reminded them of the important role of SOS Children's Villages in the care for children in need, promising the support of the city hall throughout this month of activities; a promise which did become a reality immediately through the donation of a cheque of an important amount of money.

The afternoon was marked by the opening of a football tournament. The match, bringing together the village club and a local team, saw the victory of SOS Children's Villages by a score without appeal of 6-1. The rest of the programme will cover guided visits to local companies, sports encounters and numerous entertaining activities. Celebrations end on 19 November.

Active in Africa since 40 years - Côte d'Ivoire marked the beginning

In 2011, SOS Children's Villages has been active in Africa for 40 years. The SOS Children's Village in Abobo-Gare (a district of Abidjan) marked the beginning in 1971. Tragically it was the children, SOS mothers and staff of the SOS Children's Village in Abidjan who had to be evacuated to the SOS Children's Village in Aboisso from March to August 2011 following the outbreak of civil-war. SOS Children's Villages Liberia supported refugee families who fled Côte d'Ivoire to the neighbouring country. After peace had been restored, SOS Children's Villages started an emergency relief programme for the most vulnerable families in Duékoué which has seen the most terrible violence during the recent conflict.

In 2011 SOS Children's Villages works in 47 countries in the African continent.