Hermann Gmeiner (23 June 1919 - 26 April 1986) was an Austrian philanthropist and the founder of SOS Children's Villages. Events 1180 - First Battle of Uji, starting the Genpei War in Japan 1305 - The Flemish Year 1919 ( MCMXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Events 1467 - The miraculous image in Our Lady of Good Counsel appear in Genazzano, Italy. Year 1986 ( MCMLXXXVI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar) Philanthropy is the act of donating money goods services time and/or effort to support a socially beneficial cause with a defined objective and with no financial or material SOS Children's Villages is an independent non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children
Born to a big family of farmers in Vorarlberg (Austria), Gmeiner was a talented child and won a scholarship to attend grammar school. Vorarlberg is the westernmost state ( Land) of Austria. Though it is the second smallest in terms of area ( Vienna is the smallest it borders Austria (Österreich ( officially the Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich 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.
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 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. SOS Children's Villages is an independent non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children
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, in the Austrian state of Tyrol. Tyrol ( Tirol) is a state or Bundesland, located in the west of Austria. His work with the children and development of the SOS Children's Village organization kept Hermann Gmeiner so busy that he finally decided to discontinue his medical degree course.
In the following decades his life was inseparably linked with his commitment to a family-centred child-care concept based on 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 themselves. He served as Village Director in Imst, organized 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-Kinderdorf International was established in Strasbourg as the umbrella organization for SOS Children's Villages with Hermann Gmeiner as the first president. In the following years 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, Korea in 1963, and 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 and was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize ( Swedish, Danish and Nobels fredspris is one of five Nobel Prizes Bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor 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 in 1986. He is buried at SOS Children's Village Imst.
SOS Children's Villages is currently active in 132 countries and territories. SOS Children's Villages is an independent non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children 438 SOS Children's Villages and 346 SOS Youth Facilities provide more than 60,000 children and youths in need with a new home. More than 131,000 children/youths attend SOS Kindergartens, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and SOS Vocational Training Centres. Around 397,000 people benefit from the services provided by SOS Medical Centres, 115,000 people from services provided by SOS Social Centres. SOS Children's Villages also helps in situations of crisis and disaster through emergency relief programmes. The emergency clinic in Mogadishu (provides app. 260,000 check-ups and treatments a year) is one example of a huge long-term relief project.