June 19 2007
Opening of second Azeri SOS Children's Village in Ganja
19/06/2007 - On 15 June 2007 the second SOS Children's Village in Azerbaijan was officially inaugurated. Located in the northern Azeri town of Ganja, the village consists of 14 family houses, three ancillary houses and a cozy playground. At present the village gives home to 31 children, while the maximum capacity of 112 is expected to be reached next year.
The village square was not big enough for all the guests and friends who wanted to be part of the opening ceremony. It seemed like the sun also wanted to take a closer look, still everyone present bravely endured the heat to the very end of the show.
Following a welcome speech by Mr Tahir Budagov, the president of SOS Children's Villages Azerbaijan, it was Mr Eldar Azizov, the mayor of Ganja, and Mr Michael Poeltl, deputy secretary general of SOS-Kinderdorf International, who proclaimed the village officially open.
Mr Poeltl called on the people of Ganja to open not only the doors to the village, but also their hearts to all Azeri children in need. "Children are our future, but we must do everything in our power to ensure their wellbeing in the presence, for only so we will have a better future for all," said Mr Poeltl thanking everyone who made the work of the village in Ganja possible.
Then Ms Charlotte Haefeli, President of the Swiss SOS Children's Villages association [the association which financed the construction of the village], symbolically presented the village director, Mr Nasimi Alekberli, with the key to the village as well as with a Swiss-made wall clock for the work to run smoothly like a Swiss clock.
The children, supported by their friends from SOS Children's Village Baku and the local schools, gave a magnificent show skillfully blending performances of classical violin pieces, traditional folk dances, choir songs and dances for the littlest ones. The performance of the yellow chickens in which both children and adults enjoyed, drew the biggest applause of the crowd of over three hundred guests. The children's artistic talent is not surprising, as the city of Ganja gave the world one of the greatest names of Sufism, Nizami Gyanjavi, famous poet and thinker of the twelfth century.
SOS Children's Villages Azerbaijan currently runs two SOS Children's Villages, one SOS Kindergarten, one SOS Social Centre, one Playbus project, one family strengthening programme and is supporting the work of a local kindergarten. But new challenges lie ahead. "By the end of this year, we will expand the family strengthening programme and in 2008 start a new one in Ganja. Then in 2009 we will open the first SOS Youth Facility in Baku," explained the director of SOS Children's Villages Azerbaijan, Mr Ugur Zeynalli.