Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard Join SOS Children's Villages and Esprit to Help Vulnerable Families in India

Screen couple to launch a new housing project in Mumbai, India

Oct 01, 2010, 08:00 ET from Esprit

NEW YORK, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Oscar nominated actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband, the critically acclaimed actor, Peter Sarsgaard, are to act as global ambassadors for a new project by international charity organization, SOS Children's Villages and global lifestyle brand, Esprit, which will see 140 abandoned Indian children housed and provide support to poverty stricken families to keep them together.

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In 2008 SOS Children's Villages and Esprit committed to a long-term partnership to help children in India and worldwide. The focus of this partnership is to prevent children from being abandoned by their parents. Currently Esprit supports six SOS Children's Villages Family Strengthening Projects around Delhi that aim at building capacity in families, improving education, and providing much needed medical services. In Alibaug, south of Mumbai, a new village has been built with 14 family houses for over 140 children completely financed by Esprit.

Both Maggie and Peter are actively involved in human rights, civil liberty and anti-poverty campaigns. The couple was inspired to be part of the monumental opening of the SOS Children's Village Alibaug and raise awareness for the good works of the charity worldwide.

Speaking of their involvement with the project, Maggie said: Despite the dynamic economic advances India has enjoyed in recent times, it may be hard to accept that India has the largest population of street children in the world with at least 18 million children living or working on the streets of urban India. There are approximately 250,000 in Mumbai alone. The street kids in Mumbai and elsewhere in the world are denied the right to a family and the right to grow up with love and security. Protecting children's rights is a universal responsibility that requires global commitment from us all. It's a privilege for Peter and myself to join hands with Esprit and promote the remarkable work of SOS Children's Villages, which for the past sixty years has continued to provide children worldwide; love, security and a nurturing environment that only a family can provide.

Dr. Christian Gruenler of SOS Children's Villages, said: We are honored to welcome both Maggie and Peter as goodwill ambassadors for the opening of the SOS Children's Village in Alibaug. We were drawn to the couple, as we both share a common commitment to help eradicate child poverty in developing countries.

Ronald van der Vis, Esprit's Chief Executive Officer, commented: For the past four decades, we've been supporting social institutions and projects that work with children, irrespective of their nationality, faith or background. We are delighted to have the support of Maggie and Peter, whom both share our philanthropic values and our commitment to social and community issues.

Notes To Editor:

About SOS Children's Villages

SOS Children's Villages takes action for children as an independent, non-governmental and non-denominational social development organisation by providing family-based care for children who have lost their parents or can no longer live with them.

SOS Children's Villages also supports vulnerable children and their families through family strengthening programs, which aim at ensuring access to essential services and provide health, educational, and psychosocial support. Furthermore, SOS Children's Villages operates emergency relief programs with a specific focus on the support of children and women. SOS Children's Villages operates in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

About Esprit

Esprit is an international youthful lifestyle brand offering smart, affordable luxury and bringing newness and style to life. The Group operates more than 1,100 directly managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its products via more than 12,000 wholesale locations around the globe. The company has more than 1.1 million square metres of sales area in more than 40 countries. In the 2009/2010 business year, Esprit Holdings Limited generated a worldwide group turnover of HK$33.7 billion (as of 30.06.2010).