By Joseph J.B Joboe, Communications & Brand Coordinator, SOS Liberia|
The Honorary President of SOS Children’s Villages International, Mr. Helmut Kutin, is to arrive in MonroviaSaturday, May 19, 2018 as a special guest of the SOS Children’s Villages Liberia.
Mr. Kutin is on a five days visit to Liberia as part of his tour of SOS Children’s Villages programmes in the region. While in Liberia, Mr. Kutin will tour SOS Children’s Villages Liberia programmes, including the SOS Family Care; Family Strengthening; and Youth programmes.
He will also visit the education and health facilities in the country. The Honorary President of SOS Children’s Villages is also expected to meet with key government officials and other stekeholders. Through various media forums, Mr. Kutin is also expected to speak to the Liberian public about SOS’s work and strategic directions
The personal family fate of Mr. Helmut Kutin is closely connected to his work for SOS Children’s Villages, he experienced himself what it means when a family falls apart. Mr. Helmut Kutin was born in Bolzano, Italy, in 1941. Following a family tragedy, he was admitted to the world’s first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, Austria, in 1953. Later he moved to the SOS Youth House in Innsbruck, Austria.
After his graduation from high school, Kutin enrolled as a student of economics at Innsbruck University.For his entire career, Helmut Kutin has inspired co-workers and children around the globe. Having grown up in the SOS Children’s Village in Imst in the 1950s, he has promoted the spirit of SOS Children’s Village wholeheartedly for decades. When MrKutin meets a child, he always meets them at eye-level, giving her or him a feeling of belonging, respect and love.
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First assignments in Vietnam
Lengthy discussions with the founder of SOS Children’s Villages International (Hermann Gmeiner) in 1967 induced Kutin to give up his work in the field of tourism and as a tutor, and to take on his first assignment for SOS Children’s Villages International. He started the construction of the first Vietnamese SOS Children’s Village in what is now Ho Chi Minh City. In 1968, Mr. Kutin was appointed director of the village, at the time the biggest SOS Children’s Village in the world. He subsequently set up and supervised further SOS Children’s Village facilities in Vietnam before he had to leave the country one year after the end of the war in 1976.
More than 50 SOS Children’s Villages built in Asia
In response to his outstanding achievements for SOS Children’s Villages, Mr. Helmut Kutin was appointed SOS Children’s Villages International’s representative for Asia in 1971. Thanks to his pioneering work, over fifty SOS Children’s Villages and another fifty supporting facilities were built in Asia within a few years. Other major achievements include the resumption of SOS Children’s Villages’ work in Vietnam in 1987 and the opening of the first two SOS Children’s Villages in China in the same year.
In Liberia, Mr. Kutin worked to get a country agreement signed with Government of Liberia that led to the establishment of SOS Children’s Villages Liberia in 1981. He also led the construction of the first SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia – that is the SOS Children’s Villages Monrovia.
President of umbrella organization 1985-2012
In 1985,Mr. Helmut Kutin was elected to succeed Hermann Gmeiner as President of the umbrella organization SOS Children’s Villages International and thus became the most senior representative of SOS Children’s Villages worldwide.He resigned as President at the 2012 General Assembly and was succeeded by Mr. Siddhartha Kaul. In recognition of his lifelong commitment to the work of SOS Children’s Villages, he has been given the title ‘Honorary President’.