Bishkek (Agenzia Fides) - "It was the urgent need for support and accommodation for children without parental care that pushed the non-profit organization SOS Children's Villages, in 1996, to start working in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, one of the poorest countries in Central Asia. Over the years, the work in the area has been expanded and today there are two SOS villages, one in Bishkek and the other in Cholpon-Ata, both in the north of the country. The national association also runs a Youth House, two kindergartens, a school and three social development centers": this is what Maddalena Vialli tells Agenzia Fides about "SOS Children's Villages", speaking about the presence of the non-profit organization in Kyrgyz land. Today, 1,693 are the number of beneficiaries, that includes children, young people and parents, and can count on the work of a staff of 205 people.
As Vialli points out, there are several activities in the villages: "We offer family-type hospitality programs that allow children without parental care to live in homes with 6-7 peers. Secondly, teenagers live in Youth Houses". Furthermore, she continues, "we work with families in difficulty, thus allowing us to prevent the separation of children from their parents. And we have Social Development Centers, where children find suitable spaces where to play and study. Finally, the kindergarten and the Hermman Gmeiner School complete the activities in Kyrgyz land".
The presence of the organization is perceived as a "quality social service" by the locals "because many of our services are open to the community and even the children and young people in the area", notes Maddalena Vialli. "In addition to educational services, through schools the reference community is always held in high esteem, with programs involving civil society and the surrounding population", she notes.
With regards to the religious sphere, Maddalena Vialli emphasizes that "SOS Children's Villages is a non-denominational organization and none of our direct programs have religious or proselytizing purposes. The religious faith of children and young guests is always respected and each of them is encouraged to follow their faith of origin".
According to recent data provided by the World Food Program, two thirds of the Kyrgyz population live in rural areas, which represent the poorest areas of the country, and a quarter of the population lives below the poverty level of 1.3 dollars a day.
The work of the non-profit organization is supported by the constant work of the local Catholic Church: in the three parishes of Kyrgyzstan, present in Bishkek, Jalal-Abad and Talas, some Franciscan nuns and six priests carry out their evangelical work and try to respond to some basic needs. (LF) (Agenzia Fides 06/10/2018)