Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – SOS Children’s Villages Việt Nam, which provides homes for thousands of orphans and abandoned children nationwide, on Tuesday celebrated its 30th birthday.
In a message of congratulations, president of SOS Children’s Villages International, Siddhartha Kaul, said SOS Children’s Villages Việt Nam was "a fine example of a partnership between an international organisations and a government, where both parties have given their best efforts to serve children who have no one."
SOS is an independent, non-governmental international development organisation that has been protecting the interests and rights of children since 1949. It was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Imst, Austria.
The Việt Nam operation was established in December 1987 under an agreement between Việt Nam’s Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs and the SOS Children’s Villages International.
The two first villages were opened in HCM City and Hà Nội. After 30 years, there are now 17 villages across the country.
Each village has about 12 to 16 families and each family has eight to 10 children looked after by women. The women are single and voluntarily devote their lives to be "mothers" to the children in the villages.
Director Nguyễn Tiến Dũng told Tuesday’s anniversary meeting that for 30 years, the mothers had devoted their lives to not only nurture, but also compensate for the lost affection experienced by the orphans and abandoned children.
Today, there are 17 villages nation-wide nurturing more than 6,000 children. More than 2,800 have grown up and left the villages to integrate into normal life. Another 806 got married.
The children are looked after on a family model based on the principles of mother, brothers and sisters, home, and village.
Most of the children in the villages are provided educational or vocational training.
Besides, the SOS Villages Việt Nam has carried out a programme of providing financial assistance to families who adopt orphans to help the children continue their education and avoid early work and social evils.
At present, 1,634 orphans have been adopted by 1,556 families.
Hermann Gmeiner Schools have also been funded by the SOS Children’s Villages, International.
At present, there are 12 SOS Herman Gmeiner Schools in Việt Nam from kindergartens to high-schools.
Every year, the schools enroll about 13,000 students, 7 per cent of whom are provided full scholarships.
Besides, the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Việt Trì City in Phú Thọ Province provides training for more than 1,500 in carpentry, plumbing and electrics.
Every year, SOS Villages Việt Nam and SOS Herman Gmeiner Schools grant monthly scholarships of VNĐ2 million to VNĐ4 million (US$90 to 180) to children to learn in schools or vocational training centres.
During 30 years of operation, the international organisation has given Việt Nam’s villages a total of $120 million. More than 20 per cent is spent on building facilities and equipment, and the rest on nurturing children and daily expenses.
At present, the villages and other SOS entities nation-wide have 1,300 staff, excluding 500 lecturers and short-term employees.
To mark their success, the SOS Children’s Villages Việt Nam has been given a Labour Order, First Class.
Along with funds from the SOS Children’s Villages International, SOS Villages Việt Nam also receives money from the State Budget, localities and community.
Since 2010, the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs has granted VNĐ18 billion (US$800,000) to the villages to help the programme strengthen families in Bến Tre, Cà Mau, Lâm Đồng, Quảng Nam and Nghệ An provinces, and Đà Nẵng City.
In a message of congratulations, president of SOS Children’s Villages International, Siddhartha Kaul, said SOS Children’s Villages Việt Nam was a fine example of a partnership between an international organisations and a government, where both parties had given their best efforts to serve children who had no one. — VNS