July 25 2009

South Africa's Ambassador to the Philippines makes an imprint in SOS Children's Village

25/07/2009 - On the occasion of Mandela Day, the SOS Children's Village Manila was honoured to receive the visit of His Excellency Ambassador Pieter Vermeulen, the South African ambassador to the Philippines.


SOS Archives
The "guided tour" was not guided by a guide - but by a child! - Photo: SOS Archives

Mandela Day, held on 18 July, is an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and a global call to action for people to recognize their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them. This year, the SOS Children's Village in Manila received the visit of South Africa's ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Ambassador Pieter Vermeulen and wife, Madame Chrisna Vermeulen.

The honoured guests arrived at the village in the morning and were welcomed by the children, their SOS mothers and staff of the national office of SOS Children's Villages. The guided tour of the village that they were given by one of the children lead them to several family houses in the village and then on to the auditorium, where the day's programme was about to begin. The children and adolescents performed several musical numbers, while the village director, Mr. Vic Tejada, and the director of SOS Children's Villages Philippines, Mr. Bienvenido Delgado, gave welcome speeches for the distinguished guest.  


SOS Archives
The spirit of "Make an Imprint": Don't talk - act! - Photo: SOS Archives

Ambassador Vermeulen then presented a video presentation about Mandela Day, explaining that Mandela Day celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an imprint, which reminded many of those present of what the founder of SOS Children's Villages, Hermann Gmeiner, said about taking action: "Don't talk, do something!". Ambassador Vermeulen then handed out gift bags and some books that illustrate for the children how Mr. Mandela inspired and touched the world.

This emphasized Mandela’s conviction that a global movement for positive change begins with small actions. We all have the potential to change the world. In Mandela’s words, “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”

Nelson Mandela has been a valued friend sos Children's Villages for years and once honoured our organisation by attending the opening ceremony of the SOS Children's Villages in Cape Town in 1996.

Click here for excerpts from Mandela's speech at the opening ceremony in 1996!