The first SOS Children's Village has been opened in Japan, in the historic city of Fukuoka. It was officially opened by the mayor of the city in late April 2010.
Situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture, some 1,100 km southwest from Tokyo. The Village consists of five family houses for up to 25 children in total. The first three SOS mothers - after the completion of two years of training - have already moved in together with the first children.
The need for alternative care with a family-based approach such as is offered by SOS Children's Villages, has been felt for a long time in Japan. About 40,000 children in Japan are in protective custody due to abuse and other reasons, with 90 percent of them living in infant homes and orphanages, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The guests of honour were the Deputy Governor of Fukuoka, the Austrian Ambassador to Japan Dr. Jutta Stefan-Bastl, and Siddhartha Kaul, Deputy Secretary-General of SOS Children's Villages International. Friends, supporters and people from the neighbouring community took part in the opening ceremony. "The SOS Children's Village is a place where children grow with security, dignity and protection. A good beginning has been made and with friends and supporters extending their helping hand, I'm sure the future is full of promises for children here," said Mr. Kaul on behalf of SOS Children's Villages.
The family houses were constructed thanks to donations from companies, private donors and other supporters from Japan.