June 23 2004
Day of children's parties - year of anniversaries
23/06/2004 - Since 1987, the birthday of SOS Children's Villages founder Hermann Gmeiner has been celebrated as "International SOS Children's Village Day". This year some well-established SOS Children's Villages Associations, including the Swiss Friends of SOS Children's Villages, also celebrate important anniversaries.
"International SOS Children's Village Day" was first celebrated a year after the death of SOS Children's Villages founder Hermann Gmeiner. Since then, every year has seen children's parties, sports competitions and cultural events in facilities all over the world. On the one hand, this reminds us of Hermann Gmeiner's humanitarian achievements and helps keep alive his timeless vision of a world fair for children. On the other hand, it is a day that is organised with imagination by the children themselves, a day to strengthen the solidarity with disadvantaged, excluded children in need.
An important SOS Promoting Association is also celebrating an important birthday today with a charity concert by Sir James Galway: the Swiss Friends of SOS Children's Villages is 40 years old. Since its foundation in Bern in 1964, contributions from Swiss donors, promoters, foundations and corporate partnerships have helped both to build 19 SOS Children's Villages and finance various supporting facilities (schools, youth facilities, medical centres etc.) and 102 family houses in different SOS Children's Villages all over the world. As part of the run-up to the concert, SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin will be presented with a cheque for CHF 200,000 by our partner, SWISS (from a campaign to collect change from passengers).
This year, the SOS Promoting Associations in Norway and Denmark are also looking back on a forty year history during which they have been able to contribute greatly to building up and extending SOS Children's Villages' international commitment with their fundraising and public relations work.
SOS Children's Villages of India also celebrates 40 years in 2004. With more than 120 facilities now, the Indian Subcontinent has the most SOS Children's Village Projects of any country in the world. More than 10,000 children have been looked after over the last four decades, thousands of families and children hit by natural disasters and human conflict have received aid, countless children and youths have been educated and trained while others have been helped by extensive community outreach programmes.