Kenya's first Save our Soul (SOS) Children's village was officially opened Thursday (17 October) by Vice-President and Minister of Home Affairs D.
Kenya's first Save our Soul (SOS) Children's village was officially opened Thursday (17 October) by Vice-President and Minister of Home Affairs D.T. Arap Moi.
The opening ceremony was highlighted by singing and dancing, a tour of the village by the dignitaries and speeches by both the Vice-President and the founder of the SOS scheme, Austrian-born Dr. Hermann Gmeiner.
The idea of an SOS children's village first came to Dr. Gmeiner in 1949 when he felt that the many orphaned and abandoned children left in the wake of World War Two needed not only a roof over their head but also maternal love and care.
His concept of a non-institutionalised children's home has been successful. A child growing up in such a village has his own home, brothers and sisters and a mother.
SOS villages consist of a number of homes each with a mother who devotes her full attention to her family, never more than ten.
The warmth and security of the family unit provide the destitute child with a much greater change of becoming a properly integrated member of society when it grows up.
Since 1949, more than one hundred SOS Children's village have been built around the world.
SYNOPSIS: Kenya's first SOS Children's Village was officially opened on Thursday by the country's Vice-President and Minister for Home affairs, Mr. D.T. Arap Moi. The opening ceremony was witnessed by dignitaries from Kenya and Austria.
It was highlighted by a cultural display in which many of the children living in the village took part. The children come from all over Kenya and are sent here by juvenile courts on the recommendation of social workers and welfare organisations.
Before unveiling a plaque to mark the opening, Vice-President Moi told the gathering that the occasion symbolised the efforts being made by his country to consolidate and strengthen child welfare services. He said that juvenile offenders were the victims of social and family circumstances, slums, rural migrations, broken homes, lack of education and under-employment.
After the unveiling ceremony, the guests were taken on a conducted tour of the village. The idea of SOS, meaning Save our Soul, was first conceived by Austrian-born Dr. Hermann Gmeiner in 1949 to help re-habilitate children orphaned and abandoned in World War Two. Each village consists of a number of homes, each with a mother who devotes her entire time to her family.