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SOS Children's Villages - USA

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Michail Gorbachev Honours SOS Mothers as "Women of the Year"

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the German association SOS-Kinderdorf, Margarete Gehring, from Diessen, Ammersee, will receive this year's Women's World Award in the name of all SOS mothers worldwide, in the category of "social commitment," from the hands of Michail Gorbachev.

Washington, DC, November 28, 2005 --( In a grand gala, Nobel Peace Prize winner Michail Gorbachev will be handing out the Women's World Awards in ten categories on 29 November to women who, through their remarkable achievements, have really made a change and are an example to others.

The award in the category of "social commitment", the prize for 2005, goes to all the SOS mothers in the world. In the name of around 5,000 SOS mothers, Margarete Gehring, from the oldest German SOS Children's Village in Diessen, Ammersee, will receive the "Women of the Year" prize.

"They give children without families a new home, security and love. Through their work they significantly contribute to making this world a better place and are brilliantly exemplary to us all", stated Michail Gorbachev as his explanation of why he bestowed the prize for social commitment to the SOS mothers.

SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin's first comments were: "I thank Nobel Peace Prize winner Michail Gorbachev for the outstanding distinction for thousands of women who have chosen a job which requires full dedication and devotion. They try to be the healing strength in the children's lives; they give them the ability to trust, to feel safe, they take away their fears of abandonment and assure them that they will always be there for them, in any situation. Caring for mentally and physically injured children calls for people who are armed with exceptional inner strength and who feel especially bonded to children. With the "Women of the Year" prize, each of these women, who provide countless children with a family base again, will be honoured." 

The SOS mother has a central significance in the educational concept of SOS Children's Villages. She constitutes an emotional constant which most of the children who are admitted into SOS families have had to do without in their young lives.

These women, who have chosen to be professional "mothers", are thoroughly trained educators who form deep, often life-long bonds with children (up to ten in some countries) at the same time. Many SOS mothers have in this way brought up several generations. In the meantime, the profession SOS mother has become an officially recognised profession in many countries in the field of out-of-home child care.

If you wish to find out more about SOS mothers, we recommend the book "Women's Lives - SOS Mothers Around the World Tell Their Stories". In this book, 15 women from different parts of the world are portrayed, mainly in their own words. They speak of their motives for their vocational choice, tell about their every day lives, speak of problems, wishes, and dreams - and show a realistic, modern image of their work, free from clichés.

Further Women's World Awards this year have gone to Catherine Deneuve, Benazir Bhutto, Alison Lapper, Teri Hatcher and Donatella Versace, among others. 

Contact Jennifer Tabbal, 202-347-7920 x22 for press inquiries.

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SOS Children's Villages - USA
Jennifer Tabbal

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