Official opening of the Orkla Children’s Village in Vietnam
A total of 120 children now have a safe home in the Orkla-financed SOS Children’s Village in Pleiku.
On Friday, 26 September, the Children’s Village was officially inaugurated with an uplifting and entertaining ceremony.
The opening was attended by Counsellor Ragnhild Dybendahl from the Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam, representatives from the Gia Lai provincial authorities and representatives from SOS Children’s Villages International, Vietnam and Norway. Also present were representatives from Orkla and Lilleborg, in addition to Orkla’s largest shareholder, Canica, represented by Canica Board Chair Caroline Hagen Kjos.
Caroline Hagen Kjos
“SOS Children’s Villages provides long-term assistance for children. It is wonderful to see that needy children in Pleiku are given a safe home, care and an education here in this Children’s Village,” says Caroline Hagen Kjos.
Orkla has been one of SOS Children’s Village’s main corporate partners since 2000, and from 2008–2013 has financed the construction of the Children’s Village in Pleiku, Vietnam. The Village can accommodate 120 children, who began to move into their new home in the autumn of 2013.
“Children’s living conditions are an issue that concerns Orkla. Through our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, we have sought to help provide security for children who need it most,” says Håkon Mageli, Group Director Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs at Orkla.
The SOS Children’s Village in Pleiku
Social conditions are difficult for many families in Pleiku, and many of the children are orphans. Some 2000 children in the region have lost one or both parents, and 5000 children live under extremely difficult circumstances.
Around 40% of the children in Children’s Villages are orphans. Others are children of parents who for various reasons are unable to take care of them. In the Villages, they live in family houses with up to 10-11 children and an SOS mother. The SOS mothers live with the children 24 hours a day, and take care of them as if they were their own biological children. Biological siblings live in the same house.
In Pleiku, the youngest children will attend the new SOS kindergarten, where a majority of the children are from the local community, while the older children will go to local schools. The children in the SOS Children’s Village will receive scholarships from SOS Children’s Villages for their further schooling and education.
We had time to become better acquainted with some of the children. The girl on the left is eight years old. Her favourite subject at school is mathematics, and she dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up. She lives in one of the Lilleborg houses in the village.
Before leaving, the adults and all the children in the Children’s Village joined in a spontaneous ball game.
In the Children’s Village, there are 12 family houses, a kindergarten, an administration building, employee housing, a workshop and a guest house.
Each family house has three bedrooms for the children. The houses are spacious and practical.
All of these children are now being given a new chance in life in the Orkla Children’s Village.