October 21 2003
Two British SOS Children's Villages staff killed in Somaliland
Innsbruck/Sheikh (21 October 2003) - SOS Children's Villages is today mourning the tragic loss of two of its co-workers in Somaliland. The two British teachers were killed in Sheikh last night.
Richard Eyeington, SOS project co-ordinator and headmaster at the SOS Secondary School in Sheikh, and his wife Enid were found dead at 06.00 this morning at their home in the school compound. They had been shot by unknown gunmen.
Staff at SOS Children's Villages were shocked by the news. "Our sympathies are first and foremost with their two children and their grandchildren. The whole SOS family worldwide mourns the loss of two invaluable and very committed family members," said SOS Children's Villages Secretary-General, Richard Pichler.
The motives for the killing are still unknown. The President of Somaliland has called for an immediate investigation into the deaths. The house has been sealed and the school has been closed.
Richard and Enid were British nationals, who had been working tirelessly in Somaliland for the last year to reopen a once-renowned school, which had ceased to function during the repression inflicted by Siyaad Barre during the 1970s. The couple arrived in Sheikh in September 2002. The boarding school, which is currently being attended by 100 pupils, opened in January 2003.
Richard Eyeington (62) first joined the child welfare organisation as a board member of SOS Children's Villages Swaziland in 1987, then becoming national director in 1995. His wife, Enid (61), was also a key person, taking the first steps to develop the HIV/Aids programmes now operating in Swaziland. Prior to his involvement with SOS Children's Villages, Richard Eyeington was the principal of a leading school in southern Africa, Waterford Kamhlaba, and also played a significant role in the education of children affected by Apartheid in South Africa.
Their decision to work in Somaliland was a culmination of their life experiences in the education of children and young people. With great passion and enthusiasm they decided to make a meaningful contribution to the young people of this war-torn country. This was to be the last working challenge before their retirement.
SOS Children's Villages began its work in Somalia in Mogadishu in 1983 with an SOS Children's Village and kindergarten. In subsequent years a school, a youth facility and a mother and child clinic followed. When the civil war broke out in 1990, SOS Children's Villages started a major medical emergency relief and food programme, which continues today. The mother and child clinic remains the only functioning maternity ward and gynaecological care facility in the country.
For many years, SOS Children's Villages was the only international relief organisation that was active in Somalia. Somaliland was a former British colony that became independent in 1991 but has not yet been internationally recognized as an independent state. SOS Children's Villages has been taking part in the reconstruction of Somaliland in the educational field by renovating and reopening the secondary school in Sheikh.
At present there is one SOS Children's Village, one SOS Youth Facility, one SOS Kindergarten, two SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, one SOS Vocational Training Centre, one SOS Medical Centre and one SOS Emergency Programme in Somalia.
SOS Children's Villages is a non-governmental and non-denominational organisation providing long-term care for destitute, abandoned and orphaned children in 131 countries. More than 50,000 children are being cared for at the organisation's 439 SOS Children's Villages worldwide. In addition, the organisation also provides families with welfare and educational services. Some 120,000 children and youths attend SOS Schools, SOS Kindergartens and SOS Vocational Training Centres, while more than 500,000 benefit from SOS Medical and Social Centres and SOS Emergency Relief Programmes.
Contact SOS Children's Villages
Mr Andrew Moir
Assistant Regional Director
SOS Children's Villages
Regional Office East Africa
Tel: +254/2/4449278 or 4446032
Ms Ingunn Brandvoll
SOS Children's Villages HQ