June 14 2007
2007 OPEC Fund Award to SOS Children's Villages
13/06/2007 - In accepting the award at the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Ministerial Council meeting in Pörtschach, Austria, SOS Children's Villages President Helmut Kutin emphasised the need for immediate action to help children around the world. The ceremony was highlighted by a very special testimonial to SOS Children's Villages from one of the Council's staffers from Vietnam.
After accepting an engraved plaque and 100,000 USD check from OFID'S Director-General Suleiman Al-Herbish, Mr. Kutin spoke to the assembled ministers and staff members: "We always hear the beautiful words 'children are our future'. How can they be our future if we are not doing anything for them today?" President Kutin issued a call to action to the audience: "We have to realise that children are our present, and we have to do something now so that they can really be our future."
Earlier, OFID's Al-Herbish opened the ceremony by describing SOS Children's Villages' global work and commitment to children and families in need. He commended the organisation's principles of solidarity and generosity not only to children and their families, but also to their local communities. Al-Herbish introduced an OFID staffer from Vietnam who asked to address Mr. Kutin personally.
The staffer, Truong Thanh Hung Phuong, opened by saying his story began in a small boat with his two younger brothers, and continued at the SOS Children's Village in Pinkafeld, Burgenland. Phuong recalled his time at the children's village: "I learned German, received an excellent education, made many friends and had a wonderful time there! I know that my time at the children's village prepared me for independence in later life."
Phuong said it was important for children to have a sense of belonging and family unity. He told the audience that he experienced these qualities first-hand at the children's village. The OFID Ministers, staff, media and assembled guests applauded loudly when Phuong closed his emotional and heartfelt speech.
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is an intergovernmental development finance institution established in 1976 by the member states of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It aims to promote cooperation between OPEC member countries and other developing countries in order to help poorer, low-income countries in pursuit of their social and economic advancement. SOS Children's Villages was chosen to receive the OPEC Fund Award for International Development in recognition of its commitment to the welfare of children around the world and its valuable contributions in promoting worldwide development.