November 10 2004
From the Philippines, through India, to Kosovo and then on to Bolivia
10/11/2004 - In the last two weeks some special events took place in three continents. The scenes were Bhuj, Iloilo, El Alto and Pristina.
End of October saw the official opening of the SOS Medical Centre in the Indian city of Bhuj
in the presence of SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin. The SOS Children's Village in the same location came about as a successor to an emergency aid programme which was started after a devastating earthquake on 26 January 2001 massively affected the region of Kutch in Gujarat state.
25 First Aid Centres for approximately 2,000 children were set up at the time and were in operation for six months, however, the high number of orphans have made long-term care facilities necessary. The medical centre, which complements the social assistance provided by SOS Children's Villages' kindergarten and school, should help improve the health care provision available to the population of Bhuj.
Siemens India is one of the main sponsors of this medical facility, and the managing director of Siemens Ltd., Jürgen Schubert flew in from Germany for its official opening.
See also News from 26 November 2003
40 Years SOS Children's Villages in India
During his tour of Asia, President Kutin was also present at the official opening of the seventh SOS Children's Village in the Philippines
. Prominent guest at this opening ceremony was the President of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo.
SOS Children's Village Iloilo is located on the island of Panay and includes a kindergarten which is attended by 160 children, and in the evenings, courses for women and adolescent girls are held there. A social centre with a day-care centre is primarily aimed at helping and supporting working mothers.
Further information can be found in the Events Calendar
On 7 November the famous German television star Verona Feldbusch visited the SOS Children's Village facilities in El Alto, Bolivia. Hundreds of children from the neighbouring town who profit from the SOS Social Centre programmes and from the SOS Kindergarten prepared a great welcome for Verona Feldbusch.
The official accompanying and welcoming committee was made up by Néstor Siñani, Governor of El Alto, Georg Willeit, director of the German SOS Children's Village promoting association, SOS-Kinderdorf International Deputy Secretary General Heinrich Müller, and the German ambassador Bernd Sproedt, among others.
Verona Feldbusch, who was born in La Paz, was a guest of SOS Children's Villages Bolivia for the first time three years ago. She symbolically laid the foundation stone in one of the poorest areas of the city of El Alto for the ninth Bolivian SOS Children's Village, which lies at an altitude of 4,000 meters, and the building of which she helped finance with 500,000 dollars. Close and warm meetings with SOS families marked her present visiting tour.
In Pristina, Kosovo, the so-called "Bee-house" ("Shtepia e Bleteve") was opened on 9 November. The Kosovar "Bee-house" is a pedagogical therapy centre for children with special needs, and it was built following the concept of the therapy centre of the same name in Austria.
The task of this pedagogical centre is to provide in-patient, professionally competent care and comprehensive therapy for children with special physical and psychological needs and severe behavioral problems. Children will be admitted there who until now have been in "Centres for short and middle term care".
The most prominent guest in the opening celebration was Margot Klestil-Löffler, who, together with her late husband, the former Austrian President Thomas Klestil who passed away this July, has been very involved in supporting the work of SOS Children's Villages in Kosovo.
The SOS Children's Village in Kosovo has also not existed for long, and it came into being after year-long negotiating with UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo); it is intended to gradually take on all the functions of the "Centres for short and middle term care".
These centres have until now taken in abandoned babies and infants temporarily for the period until their adoption in Kosovo. One of these centres was adapted accordingly and turned into the "Bee-house", in order to accommodate and offer an adequate environment to children with special needs.
Please also read the report "Snow Children and Sun Homes"