March 22 2006
Series of official openings in Central America
23/03/2006 - SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin opened projects in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico in mid March: three SOS Children's Villages, two SOS Social Centres, one school and a therapy centre for children with special needs.
His tour began in Nicaragua, where President Kutin received a warm welcome on 10 March in the SOS Children's Village in Managua. Everyone was there: the children, the SOS mothers, co-workers, youths who are already living independently, and representatives of the local authorities, among others. President Kutin was able to welcome three new SOS mothers and distinguish longstanding co-workers.
The following day, the opening festivities of the SOS Children's Village and the SOS Social Centre took place in León in the presence of numerous guests of honour, among which were the Minister for Family Affairs, Ms Ivana Toruño. "More threatening than a lack of money is a lack of affection", stated Kutin in his opening speech, in which he emphasised that SOS Children's Villages will always be committed to securing the well-being of abandoned children. The SOS Children's Village in León offers 90 children family-like care, and in the SOS Social Centre, which is being run by the community with support from SOS Children's Villages, up to 150 children take part in various support programmes. There are a total of 26 SOS Children's Village projects in Nicaragua at present, including the facilities in León.
Helmut Kutin's next stop on his tour of Central America was El Salvador, where the official opening of the SOS Children's Village and the SOS Social Centre in San Vicente was scheduled for 13 March 2006. "Children need our support, but we also need the children, because without them, we are nothing in this world", said Kutin to the SOS children and the beneficiaries of the social centre, and to representatives of SOS Children's Villages El Salvador and the city of San Vicente. Before the event, Kutin took a long tour through the village, which has been running since 2004 and is the home to some 108 children.
The centre offers a wide range of social services for children and their mothers, who are often on their own. Last year, a day-care programme was developed, which is a great relief for these families. His stopover in El Salvador ended with a distinction from the state of Santa Tecla and the Human Rights Office of the Ministry of Justice, which Kutin accepted in the name of SOS Children's Villages.
After El Salvador came Mexico. On 15 March, not only was an SOS Children's Villages officially opened in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in the state of Chiapas, but also a school and a therapy centre for children with special needs. The First Lady of the state of Chiapas and President of the Human Development Institute of the state, Martha López, was welcomed as a prominent guest.
The SOS Children's Village was originally planned for children with special needs only, but it has been decided to integrate children with and without special needs in the village, and have them grow up together. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and the therapy centre focus on the care of children with special needs, and also benefit children from the neighbourhood. Helmut Kutin, in his speech, stressed the importance of caring for children well and "doing all that is humanly possible to have them experience love and security, by growing up with a mother, siblings, and in a community."
Off the record: During the opening of the school and the therapy centre, Fatima, a child from the SOS Children's Village, hung a flower chain around Helmut Kutin's neck. Kutin passed it on to Martha Lopéz, and Fatima protested, saying, "No, it is for you!" Martha Lopéz gave the flower chain back to Helmut Kutin, who in turn, presented it to Fatima. She took it back unhesitantly.
On 16 March, Kutin ended his tour with a visit to the SOS Children's Village in Morelia, which is being built in the context of the 6 villages for 2006
campaign and will be completed shortly.
6 aldeas para 2006