Curriculum Vitae Helmut Kutin
Helmut Kutin

The personal family fate of Helmut Kutin is closely connected to his work for SOS Children’s Villages, he experienced himself what it means when a family falls apart, how painful it is when a sister is murdered and a mother dies shortly thereafter because of the agony. Helmut Kutin was born in 1941, the youngest of five children. The family was torn apart by the chaos of World War II. In 1953, Helmut Kutin came to the SOS Children’s Village in Imst. About his first day at the SOS Children’s Village in Imst Helmut Kutin says: “I was happy to call home a whole house for my mostly younger brothers and sisters and me, embedded in a village for many children. I experienced the SOS Children’s Villages family from the beginning on as a good family, we shared the same fate and stuck together.?/p>

Helmut Kutin’s story is especially shaped by his pioneer work in Asia. In 1967 Helmut Kutin went to Vietnam and established SOS Children’s Villages there. “The children who I removed from a war situation in Vietnam had a particularly strong impact on me. Every time I came to the SOS Children’s Village Go Vap in Saigon and handed them over the SOS Children’s Village mothers, those children’s eyes just wouldn’t let me go.?He recalls the departure from Vietnam in 1976, after Saigon fell in 1975, as one of the most painful experiences of his life. “I had to leave behind 482 children, the Children’s village was closed by those in power.?The most beautiful experience was returning to this Village in 1987.

As the Asian representative and Deputy Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages International, Helmut Kutin has done ground-breaking work. From the beginning his highest priority was to find good SOS mothers. Until today he views a healthy village community sustained by good motherhood as the essential prerequisite for the success of the SOS Children’s Villages idea.

Since 1985 Helmut Kutin has been president of the largest private organization for helping children worldwide. He was appointed personally by Hermann Gmeiner as his successor.

Helmut Kutin speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian and Vietnamese. He travels 300 days a year. “My home is the people. Home is for me the feeling of an inner connectedness with other people who do good and in particular who want to do good for children who do not have a home. So I carry my home around with me, so to speak, in my luggage, in order to ‘unpack?it everywhere in the world where I am working and responsible for SOS Children’s Villages.?/p>

The president is the central integration figure of SOS Children’s Villages ?he connects the worldwide associations, the different cultures, the younger with the older generation. Of himself Helmut Kutin says: “My task is to hold the whole organisation together.?Today SOS Children’s Villages is established in 132 countries around the world, as part of the local culture, sustained and operated by locals. Everywhere there are social and human differences. We have to bridge these differences together and establish a strong SOS Children’s Village family in every country. Even in our different tasks we all work together on a common project, carried by a common spirit and motivation. Fostering and ensuring this is my duty.?/p>

Helmut Kutin meets and talks with kings and queens, presidents and heads of government. This was important to him from the beginning: “Wherever possible, the goal is to get through to the top leader of a country in order to ensure an environment, a climate in which my co-workers can work more easily.?Helmut Kutin plays an important role as a „door opener?to the most important private and public sector partners. Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Arias Sánchez and Crown Prince Felipe of Spain are among the supporters of his work.

The president also acts as a critical instance, particularly regarding the development of size and maintaining effectiveness at the same time. His critical eye is always focused on competence and professionalization: “We can never forget that we work with people. If the immediate human needs no longer move us, but rather the processes, structures and an overdose of formalization, then there is something wrong. In addition to all the legal foundations, necessary statutes and conditions for our worldwide work, we need the freedom for personal initiatives for the good of the whole organization. We do not want to be reduced to bureaucratic routines. And we can never forget that we are human beings and not machines. The most beautiful models of thought have to be realised by human beings.?/p>

Helmut Kutin is an eye witness of the situation of children in the world. He experiences a range of threats to children, whether it is poverty, war, natural disasters or violence. At the same time he emphasises: “One thing has become clear through all of my travels: a child’s greatest suffering comes from not belonging to anyone. A lack of education, nutrition or clothing is easier for a child to cope with than to be alone, without a home, without belonging.?/p>

Helmut Kutin’s love is devoted to children. As soon as a child is near he or she becomes Helmut Kutin’s full attention, regardless of any adults present. For Helmut Kutin it is much more than work: „It’s not just a profession but my love, my life. The greatest driving force is every young woman, every young man, who is fully present in life and is mastering life. And when I walk through the village and can experience that a child who has suffered, a child who was beaten, suddenly can laugh again and is again part of a family.?Helmut Kutin pleas for encountering children at eye level: „Let us not look down on the poor, lost child. Much moreso we should accept the child as our child and encounter him or her with his or her entire history. And with all his or her strengths and weaknesses.?/p>

Helmut Kutin is personally committed to finding and fostering talented children at SOS Children’s Villages. He is in personal contact with them and supports them materially and morally. Helmut Kutin fosters many personal contacts to grown-up children, who give him strength.

The president stands up for mutual respect in the Children’s Villages organisation worldwide. He regularly calls on his co-workers in Europe to be open to the diversity of the cultural contexts. „What we call happiness in Europe is not necessarily what is understood as happiness by other people. Being a child has o many facets across the world, so many conditions to consider. We have to understand the local contexts and respect them, let the people find their own way in their context and sometimes accept that life is simply that way in this culture.?/p>

When founder Hermann Gmeiner died in 1986 there were 200 SOS Children’s Villages, more than 50 of those established in Asia through the personal commitment and initiative of Helmut Kutin. On the occasion of the 60-year anniversary of Hermann Gmeiner’s SOS Children’s Villages idea, 500 SOS Children’s Villages in 132 countries comprise the work of SOS Children’s Villages.

Helmut Kutin is a worker and do-er. “When I am traveling around the world, it always seems that this world is not actually lacking in charity, but rather that charity is not turned into deeds.?He differentiates clearly between the silent charitable attitude and social responsibility. “For us it is about giving people the chance to do something good. And not just to make a charitable gesture to relive their social conscience. It is much more about saying YES, YES to the needs of the child and YES to their own willingness to make a contribution. And to think and feel more deeply in the process.?/p>

The president connects the past with the present and future. “The good of the past should not be lost, that which is necessary for the future must be done. Our children around the world are proof of the success of our work. We can be proud of them, but we may not allow ourselves to stop thinking that there uncountable numbers who need our help. We did not come in order to quickly leave again, but rather to stay. A child who is raised with love does not know the hate caused by suffering. Only a loved child can grow into a loving adult. This simple thought, which unites all human beings and knows no borders, has no expiration date.?/p>

Throughout his many years of service, Helmut Kutin has been recognised for his achievement more than fifty times, including the highest royal decoration of the Kingdom Thailand, the highest order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, “the two border nails?order of merit of the Republic of Sudan, the award of friendship of the Republic of Russia, the “St. Gregorius Magnus?papal order from John Paul II, the “Manas Medal?order of merit of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, the “Honor al Merito Parlamento Centroamericano?order of merit of the Guatemala Republic and the high golden medal of honour of the Republic of Austria. The highest honour for the president remains every young man, every young woman, who thrives in his or her own country, his or her own cultural environment.

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