BEGINNING: In the year 1968 Prof. Dr. Hermann Gmeiner accompanied by senior staff from SOS-Kinderdorf International visited Nepal to assess the situation of children in Nepal and explore the possibility of establishing a SOS Children's Village in the country. Dr. Hermann Gmeiner was not only impressed by the natural and cultural beauty of the country but was also deeply touched by the miserable plight of children in the streets of Kathmandu that led him work for the establishment of SOS Children's Village in this Himalayan country. Late Ms. Edith Pohl was then sent by Dr. Hermann Gmeiner as a representative of SOS Kinderdorf International to Nepal. Contacts were made with the Government authorities through Nepal Red Cross Society, one of the few Non Governmental Organizations working in the country at that time. With the special interest and permission of the Royal Family, land for the first SOS Children's Village was acquired and the construction began in the year 1970. The involvement of Royal Family was instrumental and integral in establishing the entire SOS Children's Village in Nepal afterwards. Hermann Gmeiner Founder of SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner was born to a big family of farmers in the district of Vorarlberg, Austria, on 23 June 1919. His mother died while he was still a young boy, and his eldest sister Elsa took on the task of caring for the smallest of the children. He was a talented child and won a scholarship to attend grammar school. Confronted with war orphans and homeless children Having experienced the horrors of war himself as a soldier in Russia, he was then confronted with the isolation and suffering of the many war orphans and homeless children as a child welfare worker after the end of the Second World War. In his unswerving conviction that help can never be effective as long as the children have to grow up without a home of their own, he set about implementing his idea for SOS Children's Villages Foundation for first SOS Children's Village With just 600 Austrian Schillings (approx. 40 US Dollars) in his pocket, Hermann Gmeiner established the SOS Children's Village Association in 1949, and in the same year the foundation stone was laid for the first SOS Children's Village in Imst, a village in the Tyrolean region of Austria. His work with the children and the development of the SOS Children's Village organisation kept Hermann Gmeiner so busy that he finally decided to discontinue his medical degree course. Commitment to child-centred care: A mother, a house, siblings, a village In the following decades, Gmeiner's life was inseparably linked with his commitment to a family-based care concept with the four pillars of a mother, a house, brothers and sisters, and a village. Given his exclusive focus on the need to help abandoned children, the rest of his biography reads like the history of SOS Children's Villages itself. Gmeiner served as village director in Imst, organised the construction of further SOS Children's Villages in Austria, and helped to set up SOS Children's Villages in many other countries of Europe. In 1960, SOS Children's Villages International was established in Strasbourg, France, as the umbrella organisation for SOS Children's Villages, with Hermann Gmeiner as the first president. The idea spread beyond Europe In the following year,s the activities of SOS Children's Villages spread beyond Europe. The sensational "grain of rice" campaign raised enough funds to permit the first non-European SOS Children's Village to be built in Daegu, South Korea, in 1963. SOS Children's Villages on the American and African continents followed. By 1985, the result of Hermann Gmeiner's work was a total of 233 SOS Children's Villages in 85 countries. In recognition of his services to orphaned and abandoned children he received numerous awards. However, he was always at pains to stress that it was only thanks to the support of millions of people that it had been possible to achieve the goal of providing abandoned children with a permanent home, and that still applies today. Hermann Gmeiner died in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1986. He is buried at the SOS Children's Village in Imst. Helmut Kutin Honorary President of SOS Children's Villages International Helmut Kutin was born in Bolzano, Italy, in 1941. Following a family tragedy, he was admitted to the world's first SOS Children's Village in Imst, Austria, in 1953. Later he moved to the SOS Youth House in Innsbruck, Austria. After his graduation from high school, Kutin enrolled as a student of economics at Innsbruck University. First assignments in Vietnam Lengthy discussions with Hermann Gmeiner in 1967 induced Kutin to give up his work in the field of tourism and as a tutor, and to take on his first assignment for SOS Children's Villages International. He started the construction of the first Vietnamese SOS Children's Village in what is now Ho Chi Minh City. In 1968, Kutin was appointed director of the village, at the time the biggest SOS Children's Village in the world. He subsequently set up and supervised further SOS Children's Village facilities in Vietnam before he had to leave the country one year after the end of the war in 1976. More than 50 SOS Children's Villages built in Asia In response to his outstanding achievements for SOS Children's Villages, Helmut Kutin was appointed SOS Children's Villages International's representative for Asia in 1971. Thanks to his pioneering work, over fifty SOS Children's Villages and another fifty supporting facilities were built on this continent within a few years. Other major achievements include the resumption of SOS Children's Village work in Vietnam in 1987 and the opening of the first two SOS Children's Villages in China in the same year. President of umbrella organization since 1985 In 1985 Helmut Kutin was elected to succeed Hermann Gmeiner as President of the umbrella organization SOS Children's Villages International and thus became the most senior representative of SOS Children's Villages worldwide. Helmut Kutin resigned as President at the 2012 General Assembly and was succeeded by Siddhartha Kaul. Honoring his lifelong commitment to the work of SOS Children's Villages, he has been given the title ‘Honorary President’. President, Siddhartha Kaul Siddhartha Kaul, President of SOS Children's Villages International was reelected as a President in 2016. He was elected as a President at the General Assembly of SOS Children's Villages International in June 2012. At the age of ten, Siddhartha Kaul meets Hermann Gmeiner, the founder of SOS Children's Villages, in 1964 when his father was entrusted with the responsibility of establishing the first SOS in India. After the establishment of the first SOS Children's Village in Greenfields, the Kaul family moved there. As the eldest boy in the village, Siddhartha Kaul developed a bond with the SOS Children and mothers. He studied Architecture, and later Liberal Arts. In his college days, he maintained a connection with the village families. He led summer camps, and held language and math classes for the young people. His love and commitment to the children, and mothers flourish, becoming "Bhaiya" (brother) to all, and continues to be so. In October 1978, he got offered from SOS Children's Villages India to establish an SOS Children's Village in Chennai, the first in South India. For him this was a great experience and confirmed his commitment to the ideals of the organization. Mr. Kaul was posted to Sri Lanka to establish the organization in that country after joining SOS Children's Villages International in March 1981. This was also the beginning of a professional relationship with President Helmut Kutin, who was then Deputy Secretary-General for Asia. In 1986, Mr Kaul moved back to India to become Regional Director. From then on, Mr Kaul steadily took on more responsibilities, including: the revival of the organisation in Vietnam, starting in 1988, and establishing the organisation in Cambodia. In 2001, Siddhartha Kaul became Deputy Secretary-General for Asia, a member of the Senior Management Team of SOS Children's Villages International, and an active participant in the strategy process for the organisation. In December 2004, Asia was devastated by a tsunami and the organisation embarked on a major relief and reconstruction programme which was supervised by Mr Kaul. Working in diverse social, economic, religious and political systems in Asia, Mr Kaul has learned to appreciate and value diversity. Interacting with children and mothers, be it in the villages or in the family strengthening programmes, remains his priority and strength, not to mention a source of joy. Mr Kaul has received numerous honours within the organisation, as well as by governments and civil societies in countries throughout Asia. Mr. Kaul was born on 21 September 1954 in the town of Pilani, Rajasthan, India. He has been married to Ramma Kaul since 1985. They have two children. They live in the town of Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi. He speaks English, Hindi and a smattering of Sinhalese International recognition Mr Kaul has received various awards in recognition of his efforts to improve the lives of children: In recognition of services 1990-2000 to the City of Dien Bien Phu/Dien Bien Phu Province - Vietnam (2010) "MONISARAPHON" ranked a "MOHASENA" by the Prime Minister of Cambodia/Royal Government of Cambodia (2007) Commander de la Medaille du Sahametri Royal Government of Cambodia (2003) SOS Ring of Honour by Professor Dr. Hermann Gmeiner (1984) Award for the cause of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Government of Vietnam (1997) Award for outstanding contributions - Youth Union Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam (1994) Friendship Award Government of Vietnam (1992) SOS Children's Village Nepal – The Organization SOS Children's Village of Nepal was registered with Social Welfare Council of Nepal government in 1986 and with the District Administration Office Bhaktapur in 1989 as NGO. A national executive committee was formed under the patronage of late Princess Principe Shah and headed by late Princess Sharda Shah. Dr. Hemang Dixit took over the chair after the death of HRH Princess Sharda Shah in the year 2001. Prof. Dr. Bishwa Keshar Maskey was elected as chairman in May 2009, after the retirement of Dr. Dixit.