Albert Scheitzer, the world famous humanitarian and a member, this year, of the Nobel Prize Committee, has nominated for the Peace Prize, Austrian, Hermann Gmeiner - the champion of homeless children.
Albert Scheitzer, the world famous humanitarian and a member, this year, of the Nobel Prize Committee, has nominated for the Peace Prize, Austrian, Hermann Gmeiner - the champion of homeless children. Gmeiner started his great crusade in 1949 when he himself had virtually no money. His plan to build 'SOS' villages, or even individual homes, for homeless, parentless and abandoned children seemed, to his friends, a wild pipe-dream. But Gmeiner was adamant and overcame great difficulties and, even, personal hardship to bring his ideas to the notice of the public. Everyone to whom the appeal was addressed - and it included people in all walks of life - was asked to contribute only one Austrian Schilling per month.... and happily practically the entire population responded to this noble cause. With the help of the modest contributions from pensioners and politicians, students and sportsmen, Gmeiner raised sufficient money to buy a building site near Imst in the Austrian Tyrol and in 1950 he began building the first SOS houses of the Children's Villages. The success of his scheme soon passed all expectations and, by spreading his net internationally, Gmeiner has built up a society of almost 500,000 members. In Austria alone there are 60 SOS homes which will accommodate 600 children, and Gmeiner's ideas are now bearing fruit in France, Germany and Italy.