Authorities of SOS Herman Gmeiner School have celebrated the 102nd birthday of the founder of the institution; Hermann Gmeiner.
The celebration was hosted at SOS Children’s Villages-Kumasi on 23rd June 2021, serving as a platform for authorities of the school to share with students the vision of the founder and how he recognized a problem (lack of care for children who lost their parents) and found solution to that.
A quiz competition was held as part of the celebration with award packages given to best performing students.
Competing students were categorized into three sections; Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red.
Red emerged first at the end of the contest scoring 55 points. Placing 2nd was Blue with 51 points, followed by Yellow (3rd position) with 50 points. However, Green took the 4th position by scoring 48 points.
Mr. Benard Amoako-Director for SOS Children’s Villages-Kumasi shared in an exclusive interview with www.leakynews.net that the vision of the founder, hence the formation of SOS (a child welfare organization) has impacted the lives of thousands of vulnerable children in Ghana and across the globe.
Since its formation in Ghana for over 40 years now, children who grew up in their various villages and those they have and are supporting on their family strengthening program are benefiting immensely from holistic development under the organization.
“We have supported many children in the country. Some in high places”.
On record, the SOS Children’s villages has been in operation in Ghana since 1974. The first Village in Ghana was built in Tema in 1974, that of Asiakwa in 1992, Kumasi and Tamale both in 2010.
Kumasi alone as disclosed by the Director has 119 children in the village. The organization is also supporting 1,034 children in their family strengthening program held in and around five communities in Ejisu Municipality.
He however called on groups, companies and individuals to support them to be able to take care of the children who are under their care. “We really need support to pay for their expenses so that they will become people who will contribute to the development of their society in future”.
ABOUT FOUNDER AND SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGES
Hermann Gmeiner was born to a big family of farmers in Vorarlberg (Austria) on June 23, 1919.
His mother died while he was still a young boy, and his eldest sister Elsa took on the task of caring for the smallest of the children.
He was a talented child and won a scholarship to attend grammar school.
Having experienced the horrors of war himself as a soldier in Russia, he was confronted with the isolation and suffering of the many war orphans and homeless children as a child welfare worker after the end of the Second World War.
In his unswerving conviction that help can never be effective as long as the children have to grow up without a home of their own, he set about implementing his idea for SOS Children’s Villages.
With just 600 Austrian Schillings (approx. 40 US Dollars) in his pocket Hermann Gmeiner established the SOS Children’s Village Association in 1949, and in the same year the foundation stone was laid for the first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, in the Austrian Tyrol.
Hermann Gmeiner’s work with the children and development of the SOS Children’s Village organisation kept him so busy that he finally decided to discontinue his medical degree course.
In the following decades, his life was inseparably linked with his commitment to a family-centred child-welfare concept based on the four pillars of a mother, a house, brothers and sisters, and a village.
Given his exclusive focus on the need to help abandoned children, he served as village director in Imst, organised the construction of further SOS Children’s Villages in Austria, and helped to set up SOS Children’s Villages in many other countries of Europe.
In 1960, SOS-Kinderdorf International was established in Strasbourg as the umbrella organisation for SOS Children’s Villages with Hermann Gmeiner as the first president.
In the following years the activities of SOS Children’s Villages spread beyond Europe.
The sensational “grain of rice” campaign raised enough funds to permit the first non-European SOS Children’s Village to be built in Daegu, Korea in 1963, and SOS Children’s Villages on the American and African continents followed.
By 1985 the result of Hermann Gmeiner’s work was a total of 233 SOS Children’s Villages in 85 countries. In recognition of his services to orphaned and abandoned children he received numerous awards.
However, he was always at pains to stress that it was only thanks to the support of millions of people that it had been possible to achieve the goal of providing abandoned children with a permanent home, and that still applies today.
Hermann Gmeiner died in Innsbruck in 1986. He was buried at the SOS Children’s Village in Imst.
In Africa today, SOS Children’s Villages is present in 50 countries clustered into four (4) Regional Offices.
Ghana belongs to the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF) region headquartered in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
In Ghana, SOS Children’s Villages has been in operation since 1974.
The first Children’s Village in Ghana was built in Tema in 1974 by Asiakwa in 1992, Kumasi and Tamale both in 2010.
As a global organization, SOS’s focus target group are children who have lost parental care (i.e. the orphaned, abandoned and destitute children) as well as children at risk of losing parental care.
Its work is guided by:
• The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
• The UN Guidelines on Alternative Care, 2010
• African Charter on the Rights & Welfare of the Child (2005)
• National Laws & Policies: e.g., The Children’s Act,1998 (Act 560)
• Care Reform Initiative
• Child and Family Welfare Policy, 2015
• SOS Strategy 2030 (Aligned with the UN SDGs)
• The SOS Care Promise
In the long run, SOS contributes to the achievement of the National Agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Aside its two flagship programmes: Family Like Care and Family Strengthening, it has other community interventions such as:
FLIP, MFS II & Post, QEN, Save My Mothers, Oral Health, End Child Marriage, Zuozugu 100, Sanitation Project etc. Currently, officials are running the No Business as Usual and the GrEEn projects in the Asokore Mampong Municipal.
The foregoing interventions are to ensure that they empower the youth towards Resilience and Self Reliance.