INTRODUCTION: Shortly after the second world war, Dr. Hermann Gmeiner was a medical student in?
INTRODUCTION: Shortly after the second world war, Dr. Hermann Gmeiner was a medical student in the Austrian city of Innsbruck. There, he saw destitute and homeless children roaming the streets in the wake of a seven-year war which devastated most of Europe. And it was there that he had the idea of creating special villages where those children could be brought up in a family atmosphere. He put his ideas into practice, and there are now 120 of his 'SOS' villages around the world. On Saturday (7 May), Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Dr. Gmeiner opened another one in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.
SYNOPSIS: President Sadat was accompanied by his wife Jihan. It was she who contacted Dr. Gmeiner in 1974 with the idea of building an 'SOS' village for homeless Egyptian children. A site was donated and building began within months. Women, who were willing to become foster mothers, were put through an intensive training programme in the recently established Mother School at nearby Heliopolis. On the day the village was opened, there were already 90 children being housed there. Eventually, about 300 children will have been given new homes in the Cairo village. But the plans do not stop there. The next step is to build another village at Alexandria which will also incorporate a holiday camp for deprived children. The idea is to provide a permanent home for the children until they are able to look after themselves.
For the children of Cairo's 'SOS' village it was a day of excitement. They prepared a series of entertainments for the President and his wife, including a ballet performance by some of the older girls.