Vienna/Innsbruck, 06 October 2011 – Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, SOS Children’s Villages President Helmut Kutin and SOS Children’s Villages International Vice-President Margaret Nkrumah held a press conference at the Landtmann Café in Vienna to mark 40 years of SOS Children’s Villages’ work in Africa and the 70th birthday of SOS Children’s Villages President Helmut Kutin which he celebrated on October 4th.
SOS Children’s Villages is active in 47 African countries, among others also in the region suffering from the draught and famine disaster. “In Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia we provide food and water as well as medical aid to some 40,000 people, mainly children and their families. The SOS hospital in Mogadishu increased its capacity from 30 to 60 beds and hired additional medical staff. Mobile SOS infirmaries have been set up in the refugee camp in Badbado and the city of Baido, where we offer medical aid to up to 500 people a day, mainly seriously undernourished children, to secure their survival”, said Kutin, summarising the current situation.
The President of the SOS Children’s Villages organisation made an urgent call for donations at the press conference: “The international community is providing help to East Africa, but it is not enough. We need more funds to save lives and secure survival; in addition to the immediate help, we will need to set up long-term programmes to enable the people to restore their farms, go back to animal husbandry and to feed their children themselves.”
“Reports on the current situation at the Horn of Africa paint a dramatic picture. Austria is going to show its solidarity with the region hit by disaster“,Spindelegger said, announcing an increase of Austrian aid for the crisis region.
SOS Children’s Villages extends family strengthening programme
In addition to its core task of providing children a home in SOS Children’s Villages families, the organisation intends to widen its prevention activities. Margaret Nkrumah, Vice-President of SOS Children’s Villages International in Ghana explained the new focus of their work: “We reach many very poor families in the areas where SOS Children’s Villages are located with our family strengthening programme (FSP). In cooperation with local authorities, social workers and volunteers we offer help for self-help, supporting these families in coping with their lives and helping them to care for their children. This is also a valuable contribution to strengthening the communities so that they will have the resources available to support families in acute distress.”
Austrian Development Agency supports family strengthening programme in Africa and Eastern Europe
The Austrian Development Agency has been supporting numerous projects of SOS Children’s Villages for disadvantaged children and their families in Africa and Eastern Europe since 2003. The focus in this work is on strengthening the families. Foreign Minister Spindelegger said: “SOS Children’s Villages is a reliable partner of the Austrian development assistance as is proven by the many joint projects carried out for years in Ethiopia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In 2009, I was able to see the achievements for myself when I visited Keranyo/Ethopia. The high degree of professionalism with which SOS Children’s Villages go about their work is impressive and illustrates the integrated and sustainable approach to their work. We share the same goal: working with children at eye level, meeting their requirements and fulfilling their wishes.”
ADA is currently supporting five SOS Family Strengthening Programmes in Africa with 250,000 euros/year of the Framework Programme South. With this help, 2,500 children and their families of Ethiopia (Bahir Dar and Hawassa), Zimbabwe (Bindura and Bulawayo) and Uganda (Kakiri) are supported. Since 2010, ADA has been co-financing the Family Centre in Mostar with 73,000 euro, providing aid to more than 750 socially deprived children and their families.
Spindelegger appreciates Helmut Kutin’s dedication
Spindelegger praised the many years of commitment of SOS Children’s Villages President Helmut Kutin: “My special thanks go out to Helmut Kutin. As the successor to Hermann Gmeiner he has been shaping the fate of one of the largest private children’s relief organisations in the world for decades. Since the beginning of his presidency, the reach of the international network of SOS children’s villages has more than doubled. This is a truly remarkable achievement and I would like to thank him most warmly for that in the name of Austria”, Spindelegger concluded.
Would you like to donate for East Africa? All contributions large
or small provide vital help!
45 euros ensure survival of a whole family for one month.
Account for donations: account no. 1.566.000 with PSK (sorting code 60.000) “Ostafrika”
or online at: www.sos-kinderdorf.at
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