SAF-SOS Environment Camps

News 21st August 2008

SOS Earthquake Bi-annual Report - January to June, 2008

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Conference 10th May 2007

MoU between the South Asia Foundation ('SAF') and SOS-Kinderdorf International

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Event Bhopal, India - 26th December 2005

The Third SAF-SOS Environment Camp - 26th December 2005, Bhopal, India

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The Environment Camp is the outcome of an agreement between SOS-Kinderdorf International and the South Asia Foundation (SAF). Taking a leaf out of SOS Farm Project Malpotha in Sri Lanka, both the organizations have agreed to get the youths from the South Asian countries together to experience the significance of the environment in a rural atmosphere and learn farming techniques together. The Camp’s strength lies in understanding the values of regional cooperation, of working in a cohesive manner towards the protection of the environment as well as learning about the dignity of labour. The SAF takes care of the monetary aspect (travel and other expenditures) while SOS Children’s Villages provides the facilities and opportunities.

The children from SAARC countries (two boys and two girls from each country and two additional from India) and residents of the project take part in the Camp. The participants come from outside the SOS Children’s Villages too, like the Bhutanese and the Maldivians. The first camp was held at Malpotha in Sri Lanka in 2003. In the following year, the SOS Vocational camp was organized in SOS Youth Village-cum-Training Centre Bagerhat in Bangladesh, where the youngsters learned how important it was to respect ecological principles and live in harmony with nature.

 

The degradation of abject poverty made a deep impression on Mr. Madanjeet Singh when once, as a student, he saw at Coimbatore railway station in India the heart-rending scene of a woman cooking rags and old newspapers in a pot for her four naked children. He described the scene in his book ‘This My People’, published in India by Mapin. Hence he was very impressed by the initiative taken by the late Professor Dr. Hermann Gmeiner, who established in 1949 the SOS-Kinderdorf International to provide long-term, family-based care to orphaned children worldwide. SOS Children's Villages came to India in the year 1964 and thereafter to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Today South Asia has 50 SOS villages with social centres that provide education and care for women and children, outreach programmes and emergency care.

The South Asia Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SOS-Kinderdorf International. The first SAF-SOS joint project approved by the SAF Chairpersons, was the Environment (organic farming) camp which was hosted by the SOS Vocational Training & Vacation Centre in Malpotha, Sri Lanka, from August 12th-21st August 2003; the second in Bageraht,Bangladesh, 2004; the third in Bhopal, India, 2005.
In 2006, it took place in Bhopal, India.

SAF-SOS Environment Camps in Bhutan
 

Although Bhutan has no SOS Villages, every year the South Asia Foundation invites 4 youngsters: 2 girls and 2 boys, to participate in the SOS Camps.

It is a great experience for them to meet and interact with orphans from the region in a rural environment.

 

 

 
 
 
Their first camp in Malpotha, Sri Lanka, was about organic farming. The second in Bangladesh in 2004. In SOS Youth Village-cum-Training Centre of Bagerhat in 2005.

SOS Children’s Village Khajuri Kalan situated near Bhopal, the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh hosted the friendship camp. The Village was established specifically for children with special needs.
 

SAF-SOS Environment Camps in Nepal
 

SAF-SOS Environment Camp
 
Young people from SOS Villages with SAF Nepal Secretary Mr. Nishchal Pandey.

Since the agreement between the South Asia Foundation (SAF) and SOS-Kinderdorf International in 2003, 2 girls and 2 boys from Nepalese villages, have participated in the different camps, Malpotha (Sri Lanka), Bagenhart (Bangladesh).

For these youngsters to interact with others from neighboring regions including Bhutan and the Maldives (where there is no SOS Village), it’s a unique and great experience.

They are exposed to a rural life style and environmental issues while at the same time fostering friendship in a cooperative spirit.

 

 
 

SAF-SOS Environment Camp

Young people from SAF-SOS Environment Camp at work.

On that count the camps have succeeded admirably. They have provided them the experience of working on the land while realizing the benefits of protecting nature. Above all they have developed close ties with each other as they have worked and played together, have learned from each other how to cook different South Asian recipes and had fun singing and dancing together as they have exchanged information regarding their respective cultures.

As agriculture is the main subsistence for over eighty per cent of the people in South Asia, the camps make the participants aware of how its enormous economic potential could be harnessed by acquiring professional skills for gainful employment.
 
 

SAF-SOS Environment Camps in Pakistan
 

SAF-SOS Environment Camp
 
President Souriya Anwar with SAF Founder Madanjeet Singh.

Since the agreement between the South Asia Foundation (SAF) and SOS-Kinderdorf International in 2003, 2 girls and 2 boys from Pakistani villages, have participated in the different SAF-SOS Environment Camps, Malpotha (Sri Lanka), Bagenhart (Bangladesh.

For these youngsters to interact with others from neighboring regions including Bhutan (where there is no SOS Village), it’s a unique and great experience. They are exposed to a rural life style and environmental issues while at the same time fostering friendship in a cooperative spirit.

On that count the camps have succeeded admirably. They have provided them the experience of working on the land while realizing the benefits of protecting nature.

Above all they have developed close ties with each other as they have worked and played together, have learned from each other how to cook different South Asian recipes and had fun singing and dancing together as they have exchanged information regarding their respective cultures.

 


 
As agriculture is the main subsistence for over eighty per cent of the people in South Asia, the camps make the participants aware of how its enormous economic potential could be harnessed by acquiring professional skills for gainful employment.

The 4th SAF-SOS camp is scheduled to be held August 10th - 21st year in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Report from SOS Pakistan

Children from SOS Pakistan have participated in two SAF & SOS Environmental Camps. The first camp was held at SOS Vocational (Agricultural) Training Centre and Youth Facility Bagerhat, Sri Lanka in August 2003.

Four of our youths attended. Zahir Ali Shah and Mehnaz Gul came from SOS Dhodial. Shah Zeb and Nadia Zafar came from Lahore.

The second camp was held from December 6th to 16th December 2004 at SOS Children's Village International in Dhaka Bangladesh. The four participants were Lubna Yousaf and Muzammil Ali from SOS Karachi, and Kashif Noor and Seemab from SOS Lahore.

All of our children came back from these camps with wonderful stories of their experiences. These camps not only enriched their lives while they attended the camps, but also left them with a lifetime of memories, which they eagerly share with their SOS brothers and sisters.
It is noticeable to all who love and care for these eight special children that they have grown as individuals and their outlook on life has changed for the better.

Allowing youths to experience other cultures and new environments enables them to open their minds to new things and realize that there is a vast world out there for them to explore.

We at SOS Pakistan thank the SAF and Mr. Madanjeet Singh for the privileged opportunity for our children to share this wonderful experience with youths from other SAARC countries.

We look forward to the third Environmental Camp and happily wait to send four new youths to join their peers as distinguished members of this selected group of participants.