Last weekend, SOS Children welcomed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie to its Village in Santo, outside of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince. Ms. Jolie spent a night at an SOS family house in the SOS Children's Village.
She visited with and brought toys for the children. On her trip she met with President Preval, current and former Government of Haiti Ministers, Haitian Judges and lawyers, U.S. State Department officials, and other NGOs regarding child protection in Haiti.
Before the overnight stay, Ms. Jolie held a dinner and round-table discussion that included UNHCR, SOS Children's Villages, UNICEF, Partners in Health and PRODEV. The purpose of the meeting was to study the Haitian legal system surrounding child protection issues and explore mechanisms for strengthening the Government's capacity to address these needs.
"Safe and loving environment"
This is Ms. Jolie's second visit to the SOS Children's Village Santo in Haiti. When last there in February, she met with the 33 children who were brought to the SOS Children's Village after the Haitian government intervened to prevent their removal from Haiti. This weekend, Ms. Jolie learned that all of the children have been reunited with their families and continue to receive assistance from SOS Children's Villages. During her stay Jolie commented,
“I like to visit and support the SOS Children's Villages in the world because I have seen that the children are growing up in a safe and loving environment.
SOS was there before the earthquake, and during it -- but most importantly, SOS will be there for many years to come -- to raise these children, in their communities until they are self-sufficient adults.
As a long time supporter of SOS, I have visited many of these unique villages personally. I can vouch for their commitment and care for the children. As the situation unfolds, and we all focus in on ways to help these desperate children -- I ask you to please learn more about and consider supporting SOS Children's Villages."
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been long-time supporters of SOS Children's Villages. In the past, Ms. Jolie personally visited an SOS Emergency Relief Programme in Chad, and Children's Villages in Ethiopia and Jordan. SOS Children's Villages USA said,
“Ms. Jolie's involvement helps to raise spirits when life has become so hard for children who have lost everything. Her continued support sheds an important light on the progress and challenges all of us face in Haiti.
With the six month anniversary of the earthquake approaching, Jolie helps the world remember that the struggle for survival continues on the ground every day. International partners working hand-in-hand with Haitians will be there for many years to come, long after the cameras have gone away.”
Jolie tours SOS Global Village Shelters
SOS Children's Village Santo is currently housing nearly 500 children without biological families to care for them. Over the past few months, 160 children who were temporarily in the care of SOS Children's Villages have been reunited with their families. They are beneficiaries of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme that provides food and counselling assistance to more than 10,000 children daily.
Ms. Jolie also toured the SOS “Global Village Shelters” at the Santo site. Made of polypropylene materials, these shelters are quickly installed. They each provide eight children and an SOS Mother with dry, safe housing as the rainy season approaches. About 300 children will be moved into the shelters as added protection against the rainy season. “Global Village Shelters” promise to set a high standard for mid-term housing in Haiti.
Learn more about our work in Haiti, and how you can help.