Kathmandu: The newest SOS Children’s Village in Bharatpur is a gift for Nepalis children from Mr Helmut Kutin, president, SOS Kinderdorf International. The fund for the construction of the village was collected as Mr Kutin’s 60th birthday gift.

“My SOS friends asked me about my birthday wish. I have asked all of my friends to help in building the SOS Children’s Village in Chitwan for my 60th birthday” Mr Kutin said.

Construction work started in 2002, children moved into the family houses in August 2003 and the Village was officially inaugurated by President Mr. Helmut Kutin on November 9, 2003. Mr Helmut Kutin, together with Mr Siddartha Kaul, general secretary of SOS KDI, visited the Village again on 23 October 2004 and celebrated Dassain festival jubilantly, which left behind a historic impression to all the children, mothers and co-workers. Other important festivals like Teej, Tihar, Mother’s Day were also celebrated in the Village. The village houses 135 children, including 60 girls. Out of them 30 children are orphans, 79 are semi-orphans and 26 are abandoned.

Out of 135 children in the Village, 128 children go to attend SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Bharatpur, one girl studies in Class IX at a local government school, and the rest are too small to go to school. SOS Social Center in Bharatpur started functioning from June 2004. It presently focuses on providing Hermann Gmeiner Scholarship to the needy children from the neighboring communities. Altogether 159 children have been receiving the continuous support from this Social Center. The center is preparing to start a medical clinic and day care facility soon. In 1968, Prof Dr Hermann Gmeiner visited Nepal to explore the possibility of establishing a SOS Children’s Village in the country. In the same year National Executive Committee headed by late Princess Princep Shah, Chairperson of Nepal Red Cross Society.

In 1970 the government provided land for the construction of the first SOS Children’s Village in Sanothimi and the first SOS Family moved in 1972. In 1973 late Queen Aishwarya Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah officially inaugurated SOS Children’s Village Sanothimi. SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Sanothimi was built in the same year. The inaugural function of SOS Children’s Art Exhibition is going to be held at Nepal Art Council on 23 June 2005. British Ambassador Mr Keith G Bloomfield will be inaugurating the exhibition. The exhibition will continue till 25 June, 2005.

(Compiled by Merina Pradhan)