From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Remembering "Father" Hermann Gmeiner
By Momoja Lappia 077-321007
Apr 26, 2010, 14:44

Twenty-four years ago, on April 26th 1986, Hermann Gmeiner passed away leaving behind thousands of destitute with environments that guaranty love, protection, and hope for a better future like any of their contemporaries from advantaged backgrounds. For the world, especially governments, his footprints he left along the sparkling beach of memory gives a direction that encouraging, loving, and empowering children in dire need will continually make this planet a better place.

The Living 'Father'

The physical living Late Hermann Gmeiner in whatever description was a diminutive man but stood tall in the site philanthropy. The conspicuous feature of him was an over averaged nose; a nose that was not divinely molded to exhale discord, rather instead his was a nose that sniffed for possible solutions that remain telling well on plenty lives today. From his maiden established SOS Children¡¯s Village in the small Austrian town of Imst in the 50s, Hermann Gmeiner remained driven by the fate of children. Ultimately, he wanted to save the world through the disadvantaged children who he perceived were not responsible for societal vice bottlenecks capable of hindering them from meaningfully contributing towards their personal, national, and global advancement. By the time of the time of his demise- 1996- Hermann Gmeiner¡¯s vision-turn-reality was glowing in children¡¯s worldwide; there were already 233 SOS Children Villages in 86 countries for over 35,000 children. This remarkable performance speaks volume that Gmeiner was far ahead of his time as a fundraising expert vis-¨¤-vis recruiting and convincing sponsors.

While he strove at the expense of his own privacy, many of his initiatives that are today¡¯s answer orphan homes and institutions still have a prophetic ring to them: his criticism of technology , his concerns about overwhelming materialism and dehumanization, and his urge for peace and cohesion among those with different religions and political views. He was an unassuming personality who was aware of the possibilities that can be crated by human actions, reasons and human love, and he campaigned relentlessly for them, right until the end. And before Gmeiner bided the world his final bye-bye, the great man place the implementation of his universal dream into everybody¡¯s hands with great modesty in ensuring that every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.

Gone, but...­

Hermann Gmeiner is gone but realistically speaking his love and inextinguishable concern for humanity still lingers in the minds of most lucid living things. Although his physical form is no more, Gmeiner in his intangibility has a grave sacrosanct in the blameless heart of children. In his blossoming days the issue of HIV/AIDS, the United Nation Convention of Children¡¯s Rights, Anti-terrorism Crusade, Environmental Campaign, and plenty more were not around. Nonetheless, his mode of advancing things by then clearly had prophesies of these contemporary topics. For instance there are worldwide today about 2.1 million children under the age of 15¡¡infected with HIV. SOS Children¡¯s Villages helps and supports thousands of AIDS-infected children and their families, as well as thousands of children whose parents have AIDS or have already died from it. Strikingly, in the absence of the "Farther" sponsorship has grown to soccer stars.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.