Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina graced the '40 years celebration programme' of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh


Hon'ble Prime Minister of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh -Sheikh Hasina graced the '40 years celebration of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh' held on 30 January 2013 at 11:hrs at SOS Children's Village Dhaka.

Since first SOS Children's Village was established in Dhaka in 1972, the organisation have grown, gained experience and become a reliable, lasting and one of the leading child welfare and social development organisation in Bangladesh. For SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh, 2012 marks 40 years of its services in the country in providing family based care for the children who have lost parental care or who are at risk of losing parental care and deprived of caring family environment. Now we have six SOS Children's Villages in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Bogra and Sylhet.

Through Family Strengthening Programme (FSP), SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh also working to empower vulnerable families of the neighbouring community of SOS Children's Villages to strengthen their capacity to protect and care for their children. Besides, SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh is also operating SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools in Dhaka, Khulna, Chittagong and Bogra through which children of SOS Children's Villages and neighbouring community have been getting quality education. SOS Vocational Training Centres in Dhaka, Chittagong and Bagerhat are providing free technical education and training to the young boys of SOS Children’s Villages and boys from under privileged families of the community.

To mark the glorious 40 years, SOS Children's Village Bangladesh arranged different programmes. A documentary was made on activities of the SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh. Special logo was released which was used in banners, festoons, cards and other materials. Commemorative stamp and first day cover was issued by the Bangladesh Post Office on that occasion. Inaugural event 'Voluntary Blood Donation Camp' was arranged on 13 December 2012 which was followed by children's art competition, junior cricket tournament, children's music competition and children's dance competition. The events were arranged involving children from all SOS Children's Villages of Bangladesh and different schools of Dhaka city. Private television channel ATN Bangla was all through involved with the programmes as media partner.

The 40 years celebration programme was ended with a discussion session, prize giving and cultural function which becomes a grand programme with presence of the Hon'ble Prime Minister - Sheikh Hasina as the Chief Guest. The speech of the Hon'ble Prime Minister was extremely inspiring. In her speech, the Prime Minister appreciated the activities of the SOS Children's Villages for giving shelter to the parentless children and rearing them up in family atmosphere urging all for spreading the mission all over the country. "A large portion of our children in different ways are deprived of the facilities of nursing and rearing up properly. And the SOS Children's Village is playing a very special role for welfare of the underprivileged children," she said. Sheikh Hasina said, Children are the future of the nation. "Future of a nation depends on devotion, knowledge and competence of the children," she said. She said, it's the responsibility of the government and society as well to build up the children as ideal citizens of the country. "Our government is working relentlessly to build a prosperous future for children," she said. Paying tributes to founder of the SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had created opportunity for Hermann Gmeiner for establishing the SOS Children's Villages in Bangladesh. The Prime Minister invited the children of SOS Children's Village Dhaka to his residence for playing in the field. She also desired to send her grandchildren to SOS Children's Village Dhaka to pass time with the children.

Social Welfare Minister - Enamul Hoque Mustafa Shaheed, MP, State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives - Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak, MP, State Minister for Social Welfare - Advocate Promode Mankin, MP and Honorary President of SOS Children's Villages International Helmut Kutin were attend the function as Special Guests. Ranjit Kumar Biswas, ndc, Secretary, Minister of Social Welfare, Md. Nurun Nabi Talukder, Director General, NGO Affairs Bureau and Shubha Murthi, Deputy Secretary General-Asia, SOS Children's Villages International were present as Guest of Honour.

The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina got an exceptional invitation from the Honorary President of SOS Children's Villages International Helmut Kutin. "When you will get tired of politics please do come here and spend some joyful time with the children of SOS Children's Village, it will help you a lot," Helmut Kutin said with applause from the audience most of whom were children. He said that the SOS Children's Village is not far away from the Ganobhaban where the Prime Minister lives. "Please come whenever you get time," Helmut Kutin, who is popularly known as 'Grandpa', said. Recalling his first step in Bangladesh just after its independence, he said he came to Bangladesh with Prof. Dr. Hermann Gmeiner, founder of SOS Children's Villages International. They met with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with the proposal of establishing SOS Children's Villages in Bangladesh. "At that time I was young and my head was full of hair. Time has passed, I have become old and now I am the 'Grandpa' he said. Lastly, Mr. Helmut Kutin said "Children are our future, we have to prepare our children today to ensure their better tomorrow".

The concluding function was started with releasing of commemorative stamp of BDT 10 denomination and a first day cover by the Hon'ble Prime Minister which were issued by the Bangladesh Post Office on 40 years of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh.

The Prime Minister distributed prizes to the winners of art, music and dance competitions held earlier on 40 years celebration of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh. Later, the Prime Minister enjoyed a short cultural programme presented by the children of the SOS Children's Village Dhaka.

Earlier, the National Director of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh Ghulam Ahmed Ishaque welcomed the Hon'ble Prime Minister and all other guests in his speech highlighting activities of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh.

Through participation of children, mothers and co-workers of each and every corners of SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh with huge inspiration and enthusiasm, the 1.5 months long 40 years celebration programme has finally got a grand finishing.

© SOS Children's Villages of Bangladesh