March 11 2005
Princess Salimah Aga Khan to visit SOS tsunami relief operations in India
SOS Children's Villages Ambassador for Children, Princess Salimah Aga Khan, will be in India (March 15-19) visiting the organisation's extensive tsunami relief operations. Through its long-term aid programmes, SOS Children's Villages is helping some 3,000 families in India and Sri Lanka, with more than 10,000 people, to rebuild their lives following the December 2004 natural disaster.
(11 March 2005) - Princess Salimah Aga Khan, who has been working with SOS Children's Villages since 1995, will be laying the foundation stones for two of the organisation's permanent housing projects for tsunami affected families in southern India. She will also participate in the handing over of fishing boats, purchased by the organisation, to fishermen in the Indian villages of Pudukuppam and Akkampettai in the province of Pondicherry, who lost their homes and livelihoods with the tsunami.
"When the tsunami struck, SOS Children's Villages quickly responded and provided help to the many families and children who so tragically lost their beloved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. Since that day, SOS Children's Villages has been helping families with the rebuilding of their lives, to ensure that they can continue to provide love and care for their children," said Princess Salimah Aga Khan, who was born and raised in India, where her father served for the Indian Cavalry Regiment.
Thousands of families and children in southern India and Sri Lanka, and particularly those from fishing communities, are benefiting from the long-term relief efforts of SOS Children's Villages. These families were provided with start-up help, emergency shelter as well as social and financial assistance to reconstruct their homes and buy fishing equipment and boats. SOS Child Protection Centres, which provided emergency aid immediately following the tsunami, are now serving as day-care centres providing children with educational and therapeutic activities.
With government permission, SOS Children's Villages is reconstructing homes and community buildings in a number of affected villages in southern India, as well as southern and eastern Sri Lanka. Within these villages, SOS Children's Villages is focusing on vulnerable families, particularly single-parent and women-headed households who lost their main breadwinner. These families will continue to receive education, nutrition and healthcare over the next three to five years. It is expected that more than 3,000 children will benefit from this programme.
Three children's villages are currently in the planning and will provide care for children who lost their parents in the natural disaster and are in need of long-term care. These children's villages will be built one each in southern India, Sri Lanka and the northern Indonesian province of Aceh, where a relief team of SOS Children's Villages is providing small-scale assistance to families and children in the worst affected areas of Tapaktuan and Meulaboh.
Princess Salimah Aga Khan is a fully dedicated and committed advocate of the organisation's worldwide humanitarian work for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children. She has participated in numerous events to promote the international children's welfare organisation, and has visited SOS Children's Village facilities around the world in countries such as Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Romania, France, Italy and Austria.
SOS Children's Villages is a non-governmental and non-denominational organisation working for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children in 132 countries and territories. It provides long-term care for some 55,000 children and youths worldwide. In addition, more than 650,000 vulnerable children and their parents are supported with educational, social and medical services. SOS Children's Villages has been carrying out humanitarian work in India since 1964, in Sri Lanka since 1980 and in Indonesia since 1971. For further information on the India trip or itinerary of Princess Salimah Aga Khan, or on SOS Children's Village relief operations in South Asia, please contact: Adriana Pontieri, Press Officer, Tel: (+43-1) 3682457-2185. Email: email@example.com