July 9, 2015 By Regina Pratt
The SOS Children’s Village in Bo, south of the country, has topped this year’s awards ceremony organized by SOS to commemorate the founder’s day which was June 23; but the event was celebrated on 1 July 2015.
SOS founder, Hermann Gmeiner, established the organization some 60 years ago (June 23, 1949) after World War II, in which many children became orphans as a result of the killing of their parents.
The 2014 Mother of SOS Children’s Village Bo, Mamie Bayoh, received the highest prize for having served the organization for thirty-two years (32), while Hannah Sipah was also honoured for her 31 years service dealing with orphan children.
Other awards for SOS Bo were ‘Best WASSCE Student’, which went to Mohamed Alie Kargbo of the Hermann Gmeiner International School. Mr. Felix Bangalie was awarded as one of the best staff, while a host of mothers and other staff received certificates plus 50% of their basic salary as bonus.
Before presenting the awards, SOS National Director, Olatungie Woode, in his citation for the SOS Children’s Village Bo, said: “It is the best village because they have quality care for children. The children’s houses are clean and above all, the mothers and aunties made meaningful sacrifices in their various locations during the Ebola crisis in Bo.”
He commended the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai, for joining the SOS family in celebrating Hermann Gmeiner’s Day with an awards night, describing the ministry as a key partner of the organization.
“Ebola is still alive and I will admonish all to be cautious and observe the State of Emergency regulations; avoid body contact. Let us keep children who were made orphans as a result of the Ebola outbreak in our minds,” he urged.
According to Mr. Woode, there are hundreds of children’s villages out there and had it not been for the care provided by Hermann Gmeiner, the future of these children would have been bleak.
He called on the government to take the lead in children’s issues as that would help salvage the desperate situation of hundreds of Ebola orphans, adding, “When people have done a good service, they must be recognized.”
In his address, Social Welfare Minister, Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai, called on the SOS National Director to continue their family strengthening program because “that is what the organization is known for”, noting that the Ebola virus disease has left many children as orphans in the country.
“What you are doing now is investing in your workforce by awarding deserving staff and mothers,” he said and commended the National Director, board members and staff for being the first organization to visit his office to assume responsibility in handling the affairs of 50 Ebola orphans.
Meanwhile, SOS staff who have worked for 10 years received certificates; those with 20 years service received a month salary and certificate; while those that have worked for 30 years and above received two months’ salary and a certificate.