From left to right: Irene Bailey and her daughter; Irene's SOS mother; Irene's sister N'dine and N'dine's daughter.
12/09/08 - SOS Children's Villages launched its first chapter in the U.S. at the Ibiza Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. SOS Ambassador, Irene Bailey, who lives in Atlanta, presided. Ms. Bailey, born in Senegal and raised with her sister in an SOS Village, initiated this chapter to build public awareness of SOS, the largest organization in the world dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children.
"My sister and I brought hundreds of friends and colleagues together last evening to hear my story. We owe our successful lives to SOS, as do tens of thousands of other orphans around the world. SOS is the best kind of NGO: it helps nations build local alternatives to orphanages. SOS Villages are locally managed with trained SOS mothers, schools and other services that enable children to have a family and a future. I am dedicated to providing many more orphans like myself this same loving family and schooling that I had. I also want to help developing countries build their own capacity to take care of their own children. SOS indeed does that." Ms. Bailey will be holding additional events for the Atlanta Chapter in the next year and participating in World Orphan Week, next October.
Heather Paul, CEO of SOS Children's Villages - USA, is also eager that more Americans know about SOS. "We are thrilled that a former SOS child has taken the lead to create our first local Chapter," says Paul, and we are excited about using Atlanta as the model for other SOS Chapters in 2009. "No one can speak more credibly about the need for local solutions to the epidemic of orphans worldwide, than individuals like Irene Bailey, who grew up in an SOS Children’s Village. I will be working with other supporters across the country who personally know how important it is that loving people step-up to take care of those children who have lost everything."
About SOS Children's Villages
SOS Children's Villages has been in operation for sixty years. With 475 villages in 132 countries, SOS raises 73,000 children through a family-based model of care that places a priority on keeping biological brothers and sisters together when the family unit has been destroyed. SOS trains surrogate mothers, and operates schools, medical facilities and training centers. SOS also supports another quarter million children in efforts to keep families together to prevent child abandonment. SOS has over a dozen nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize and has received the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. For more information, visit www.sos-usa.org.
For more information about the Atlanta chapter, visit www.sos-usa.org/atlanta.