In his relentless strides to promote, protect the health, rights and education of children in Sierra Leone, the national director of the Social Organization Society (SOS), Olatungie Woode, has built a modern SOS village in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone.
Last Saturday, the children of that village joined other SOS children all over the world to celebrate the birthday of their founding father, Hermann Gmeiner.
In his statement Olatungie Woode described the village as a first born baby to him. He said, “this is the first village that was built under my term as director”.
The director stated that he chose Makeni to build the third SOS village because it suffered most during the civil war. He maintained that at present there were 50 destitute and orphaned children living in the village with their SOS mothers and aunties, adding that in September the kindergarten and primary-age kids would start attending school.
He noted that they would be working with the ministry of social welfare, and promised that would-be inmates would be screened before accepted into the village.
Mr Woode noted further that with the help of the Danish people, who gave the funding, the land owner where the village was now sitting, the Mayor, chiefs and the people of Makeni his dream of a village in that part of the country had been actualized.
The director also eulogized the founding father of SOS for his brilliant idea of leaving such a bequest for children.
He disclosed that plans were afoot to build the fourth SOS village in the country with support from Sweden.
Delivering his statement the director of the Makeni village, Abdul Kalokoh, said the dream became reality when the first set of 50 children entered the village in May this year. He added that 95% of the children who would be enrolled into the village would come from Makeni.
Describing the ultra-modern village, the northern director noted that there were 12 families’ houses with ten children per house, laundry house, guest house, nurse resident, administrative building, two huge sets of plant generator, residents of staff and director’s resident.
He stated that, “children enrolled in the village are from 0-8 years and in allocating them into family houses we have criteria like sex, age and siblings that we look into”.
Ernest Kamara, the assistant director of the village, intimated that at present there were 38 staff including mothers, aunties, accountant, two directors, nurse and gardeners. He added that, “we are all working hand in glove towards the village’s success.
He said, “the founding father has a vision for children that’s why today there is SOS Children’s Villages in many countries”.
The Mayor of Makeni, Alhaji Andrew Kanu, congratulated and thanked the national director for bringing the SOS village to Makeni. He added that, “I am also proud because I am the first Mayor of Makeni and it is under my tenure that the village was built”.
Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Kasangha II urged the people of Makeni to be watchdogs for the village and help contribute to security of the children.
He noted that he could now boast that, “Makeni is one of the cleanest cities in Sierra Leone and one that infrastructural development is taking place”.