Better start in life | Daily News

Better start in life

SOS Children's Villages International,   Honorary President, Helmut Kutin, Pictures by Sarath Peiris
SOS Children's Villages International, Honorary President, Helmut Kutin, Pictures by Sarath Peiris

SOS Children’s Village Piliyandala is a flourishing organization that offers love and kindness to the many little children that call the village `home’. There are mothers who have put everything behind to ensure the well- being of these children. The children are raised and educated in an atmosphere of security and unconditional love.

The primary function of SOS Children’s Village is to look after children who have lost their parents. There is also the situation where some of the children in the village come from single parents and others are orphans.

Recently Honorary President of SOS Children's Villages International, Helmut Kutin was in the island having made a special trip with the supervisory board to experience the work done in Sri Lanka.

“After 40 years, I wanted to make a special visit, with the supervisory board of the first SOS Children’s village association from Austria. They have come here for the first time to Sri Lanka and are most pleased with the exceptional work that is being done here,” said Kutin.

Kutin hopes this visit will further strengthen the resolve of these visitors to continue to provide additional assistance for some of the projects of SOS Sri Lanka.

“The year 1979 was declared as the international year of the child by the United Nations and Sri Lanka was one of the few countries in the world who established a separate secretariat for the international year of the child. The secretariat was run by Malsiri Dias. I came here and we found this piece of land in Piliyandala which was provided by the government. After many years I finally handed over the reins to the present President of SOS Children’s Villages International, Siddhartha Kaul. Sri Lanka was Kaul’s masterpiece and we share the same vision for SOS work,” stated Kutin.

Establishing the SOS village in Piliyandala went smoothly, efficiently and swiftly. “We had a good supervisory board which was efficiently run by Malsiri Dias. So SOS international along with her and the ministry of Social Services began the task of opening children’s villages in the country. The achievements of the SOS Children’s village in Piliyandala is outstanding. There is a fantastic group of mothers who are a wonderful group of Sri Lankan women. They have worked very hard and are extremely competent. They have made a great difference in the lives of these children,” explained Kutin.

Their service is not only to Sri Lanka, but to the many Asian associations around the world. A number of people have been sent here including a Chinese delegation.

“These mothers can take good care of the children, while providing leadership to the household. We had one Director called Cedric De Silva who along with Kaul and the architect Angalendran worked together. Angalendran did a brilliant job. He gave the place a homely atmosphere that felt safe,” pointed out Kutin.

Kutin also said out that there is a great need to take care of the road children and their well-being.

“After 40 years we hope the locals will come forward with their sponsorships and contributions. The main problem in Asia is even though people give, they do not do it regularly. We have a tremendous amount of work to accomplish. We need a committed group of people who will stand together with these children as long as they need it until they become self-sufficient,” said Kutin.

Piliyandala is the biggest SOS village in Sri Lanka, and the school is run by the government but the buildings belong to SOS. The school takes care of around 1,000 children.

“Our aim is to give them a better start in life. One of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN is education, and for these children a good knowledge of English is vital. This will help them achieve something in life,” said Kutin.

The environment at the village is very close to that which you would get in a home in Sri Lanka. There are instances where the young ones find their own partners and marriage take place with the blessings of the elders in the SOS Family. At the SOS children’s village the family bond is so strong, that the youth keep on visiting their mothers.



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