January 10 2007
Prestigious award for SOS Children's Villages President in Vietnam
10/01/2007 - President Helmut Kutin was awarded Vietnam's most prestigious medal for foreigners by Truong My Hoa, the country's Vice President, on 5 January.
In recognition of his contribution to humanitarian achievements helping orphans and children in need in Vietnam, the President of SOS Children's Villages Helmut Kutin was awarded the Friendship Medal by the Vice President of Vietnam Truong My Hoa at the beginning of January. Mr Kutin's efforts to promote amicable relations between Vietnam and international organisations were recognised with the country's most prestigious award for foreigners.
In recent years, Mr Kutin has been considered several times for awards for the dedication he has shown in Vietnam, which to a certain extent reflects what this South-East Asian country and the children's futures mean to Helmut Kutin on a personal level. The history of SOS Children's Villages in Vietnam is closely linked to events in Helmut Kutin's life. In the middle of the Vietnam War he succeeded in setting up SOS Children's Villages in Da Lat and Go Vap near Saigon, which was at that time the largest village in the world. Over a period of seven years, Helmut Kutin shared a common destiny and formed a large family with the children and mothers in the two villages, until he had to leave the country in 1976 - one of the most bitter moments in his life.
More than ten years passed before he and SOS Children's Villages were able to return. Da Lat and Go Vap had to be renovated significantly. Vietnam now has twelve SOS Children's Villages, not two and the family-based care concept is officially classed as the standard model. Over 2,500 children received and receive care and hundreds have since become adults. SOS Children's Villages is particularly proud of its nursery and education facilities in Vietnam. Around 100,000 children have attended the ten SOS schools and twelve SOS kindergartens; hundreds of children from underprivileged families have received grants.
During an important interview in 2006, when asked which veranda he particularly liked to sit on, Helmut Kutin answered: "The best is and remains Da Lat. Personal experiences which cannot be relived are part of that."