Alibaug (Maharashtra): Amid the beats of popular Marathi songs, famous Hollywood couple Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard inaugurated an SOS Children’s Village at Sogaon, along with yesteryear Bollywood actor Waheeda Rehman here on Tuesday.
The village, set up by the non-governmental organisation SOS Children’s Villages, will accommodate 140 orphans from the State. The Hollywood couple, who are the global brand ambassadors of SOS International, said they were glad to be associated with the cause of providing family-based care to the orphan children.
Ms. Rehman, who has been associated with the organisation for 20 years, said society should come forward to take care of the needy and the under-privileged. “Why don’t the rich people donate their lands so that more such facilities can come up,” she asked.
The kids of the SOS village and nearby schools in Alibaug were enthralled when the Hollywood couple hit the stage to shake a leg on a popular Marathi song. They also spent some quality time with the kids.
“SOS India has been building Children’s Villages in India since 45 years with the idea of providing family-based care to the orphans,” said Rakesh Jinsi, National Director of the SOS Children’s Villages, India.
He explained that each household consisting of around 10 children in the village is run by a professionally trained mother. “These women are generally from the underprivileged background. We train them to handle and nurture children.”
He said the only criterion for admitting children in any of the 40 SOS villages is that they should be orphans. “Till date we have reached around 15,000 children and many have grown to become doctors, engineers and other professionals in society,” Mr. Jinsi said.
The village supports the children till they can stand on her own feet.
The professional mothers retire at the age of 60 and are provided hostel facility to spend the rest of their lives. “While working as mothers, we get Rs.3,500 per month, which gradually increases over a period of time,” said Jamuna Gadade (32), a mother at the Alibaug SOS village.
Mr. Jinsi said that 80 per cent of the funding for their programmes came from foreign nationals. “They ask us, if you have so many billionaires on the Forbes list, why can’t you people take care of your own underprivileged?”
Talking about the NGO’s plans for expansion, he said, “The next SOS Village will come up at Tirupati.”