A number of HFSP staff led by Yolanda E. Del Pilar, Head of HFSP joined Sebjorn Dahl, Head HFS Fleet Personnel & Olav Sollie, HA Chairman and other SOS Norwegian benefactors in the inauguration of SOS Children’s Village in Mariveles, Bataan on August 30, 2010. The event marked the formal opening of the eighth and the newest SOS Children’s Village in the Philippines.
The ceremony started at 8:30 AM with the unveiling of the house markers, which was graced by the sponsors from Norway, distinguished personalities from the international and local governments, religious groups, non-government organizations’ representatives, representatives from private corporations and people from the community. It was followed by the ribbon cutting led by Mr. Helmut Kutin, President SOS Children’s Village International, Prof. Ma. Angeles Lapeña President of the Board of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, Archbishop Fernando Capalla Chairman of the Board of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, and Mr. Svein Gronnern Secretary General of SOS Children's Villages Norway.
The celebration was made colorful by the performances of the different local groups of dancers, chorale and ensemble, and the children of SOS Children’s Village, Bataan as well. They enthused the visitors with their live performances of folksongs, folkdances and nationalistic hymns. Inspirational and thankful messages from the people behind the SOS Children’s Village were directed to the audience who were mostly benefactors and donors of the Village.
This SOS village makes history as the first community-integrated village designed to allow the children to blend and grow up with local residents in the neighborhood. Its family homes are built like private residences with no distinguishing signages or isolating fences. To date, it is the fourth Children’s Village in the world to have such kind of model. Specifically inside Golden Heights Subdivision, the village has six two-storey houses – which can accommodate a family of twelve per floor. It also has an administration office, a director’s house, a staff house, and a multipurpose hall. The Children’s Village is now home to 96 children and 28 co-workers.