AfDB Puts Smiles on Faces at SOS Children's Village in Gammarth

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In line with the Bank’s corporate social responsibility, the institution’s Corporate Services Vice Presidency (CSVP) staff, led by the complex’s Vice President, Arunma Oteh, on Thursday, April 9, 2009, visited the Tunisian SOS Children's Village in Gammarth, an international non-governmental social development organization that provides family-based, long-term care to children without parental care and children from families living in difficult circumstances who can no longer grow up with their biological parents. The Gammarth SOS Village currently hosts some 1,500 kids. The visit by CSVP staff is part of the institution’s broader corporate social responsibility programme which recognizes the duties and obligations that arise from the Bank’s relationship with various stakeholders and communities in which it seeks to improve the people’s overall welfare.

After welcoming the Bank Group delegation, SOS Village Director, Slim Ben Arab, made a presentation on a new SOS Village site. “We are so happy and proud to have you among us,” he said. “Your presence is a symbol of love for the kids,” Mr. Arab said. Speaking during the occasion, Vice President Oteh expressed her Complex’s support to the work being done by the SOS Children's Village. Ms. Oteh also stressed the key role the village had played for years in caring for the children. “Without you, these children would not have had a loving home, a mother and a family,” she stressed, adding that the village had given the children the chance for a future and helped their communities grow strong. "We, at the AfDB, believe that they are the future of Africa: engineers, lawyers, economists and medical doctors.” In recognition of the efforts made by the SOS Village, the CSVP staff donated 8,000 Tunisian dinars to sponsor a household in a village in Tunisia. Rather than using their hospitality budget, the Complex staff felt the funds could be better used to support children’s education, health and general well being in the SOS Village. The donation will go towards assisting SOS meet its house budget which includes food, school fees or supplies, electricity, water and sanitation, clothing furniture, salary of the mothers and administration. The SOS Village also received cartons of books, stationery and school bags for the children from the Complex.

The Village director and his team led the delegation on a tour. The complex’s delegation had one-on-one conversations with children, played and presented them with gifts, before signing the guestbook. The AfDB Official Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Ngardiga Sangbe, for his part, said he was proud that “children who may have lost everything else have not lost their chance to grow up in the wonderful environment that the village provides. This is an example to be duplicated in our countries,” he added. The former AfDB Staff Council Chairperson, Maïmouna Dabo-Diouf, said “The SOS Village model is exactly what is needed in the 21st Century, when so many children are at grave risk and in critical need for a stable and loving home. The action was worth doing.” Hanen Ben Hamida, an AfDB staff also present at the ceremony, said that “this kind of activity will strengthen Bank Group relations with the Tunisian community.” All what we are doing must start with the kids and that is exactly what our complex has just done through this gesture,” AfDB Quality Control Expert, Abdoulaye Traoré, said. The Tunisian SOS Village NGO was created in 1981 and its objective is to care for children in danger by offering them a family, a home and love.

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