WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake left over half a million children in need of protection and nearly 4,000 schools destroyed or damaged. With the one-year anniversary fast approaching, SOS Children's Villages – a global organization that provides family-based, long-term care of children and services to families at risk – today reported its long-term plans to assist in Haiti's reconstruction and the key milestones achieved thus far in its child protection and emergency relief efforts.
SOS Children's Villages has provided family-based care and education programs in Haiti for over 30 years. In the days and months immediately following the 7.2 earthquake, SOS rapidly expanded these programs. Key achievements to date are listed below.
- The SOS Children's Village in Santo, outside of Port-au-Prince, tripled in size. 421 children who have lost their biological families now have stable homes at SOS-Santo. 124 children lived there prior to the earthquake.
- At 100 distribution centers, SOS is currently providing 14,000 Haitian children per day with a nutritious meal. During the peak of the crisis, SOS fed 24,000 children per day.
- School enrollment at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in the Santo Village has doubled to 921 children. Classes are now offered in two shifts for 1st through 9th grades.
- Last January, the SOS Children's Village in Santo proved a safe haven for 33 Haitian children whom U.S. missionaries attempted to transport to the Dominican Republic without proper documentation. SOS worked with Haitian child protection authorities to identify the biological families of these children and to reunite them.
"The future of Haiti is in the hands of its children, who need stable families, a sound education and future employment," said Dr. Heather Paul, CEO of SOS Children's Villages – USA. "SOS is committed to raising and educating some of these precious children who will contribute to a strengthened Haiti."
The SOS Children's Villages – Haiti ten-year plan includes building projects, schools, teacher and vocational training, and family strengthening programs – all done in collaboration with the Haitian government.
Given the on-going needs of children without parental care, SOS will soon break ground for a third Village in Les Cayes, joining SOS Villages in Santo and Cap Haitien. This Village will provide stable homes for up to 150 children with the priority on keeping brothers and sisters together. SOS will also provide a wide range of services to support families at risk.
More than half of Haiti's school-aged children did not have access to education prior to the earthquake. With a focus on a new public education system, SOS Children's Villages has applied to the Haitian Education Ministry to build and operate ten public schools and finance their operation for seven years in cooperation with the Haitian government.
Dr. Paul added: "As generous Americans, we are eager to know that our donations really get to those in greatest need. The money donated to SOS Children's Villages for Haiti has been and will continue to be wisely spent. SOS current and future work in Haiti puts children – and therefore Haiti's future – first."
Five short videos are available on YouTube illustrating SOS Children's Villages work in Haiti. They represent life in the SOS Village in Santo, family reunification stories, the SOS food distribution program, education and long-term school construction as well as plans for a new Village in Haiti. The videos are available on the SOS Children's Villages YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/SOSHaitiVideos.
About SOS Children's Villages
For 60 years, SOS Children's Villages has been providing family-based care for children without parental care and social services for families at risk. Through its Children's Villages, Family Strengthening Programs, and other initiatives, SOS impacts the lives of over 1 million people each year. In 2009, SOS Children's Villages received the Save the World Award. SOS has also received numerous honors including the Mother Teresa Gold Medal, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, and the Vietnam Friendship Medal. For more information about SOS Children's Villages, visit www.sos-usa.org.
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SOURCE SOS Children's Villages - USA