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Annual Review 2005

Educating for the future
In many countries where we work, local educational facilities are poor. SOS Children will often run nursery schools, primary and secondary schools not only for children living in the SOS Children’s Village but also for children from the local community, with priority given to children from the poorest families. Teaching is tailored according to the local community and culture, with the aim of developing children’s skills through play (SOS Nurseries) and through the in-country curriculum (SOS Primary and Secondary Schools).


SOS Children

In 2005, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers Limited (MLIM), the UK fund management arm of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. - one of the world’s leading financial services providers - chose SOS Children as their Charity of the Year and committed to fund the construction of a new SOS school at the SOS Children’s Village in Blantyre, Malawi.

SOS Children’s proposal for a school in Malawi, a country crippled by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and in which over 65% of the population lives below the poverty line, met MLIM’s selection criteria of having an education and child bias and was likely to appeal to MLIM employees based throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Peter Hawkins, our representative at MLIM, was able to visit Malawi in June 2005 to gain a better understanding of SOS operations. During his trip, Peter visited established SOS villages and schools, accompanied SOS medical staff on their rounds to local villages and spent a day in Blantyre at the site of our new village and school. “Having the opportunity to tour SOS operations in Malawi, under the experience and care of local SOS staff, was a once in a lifetime experience. I returned to the UK in awe of the work of these dedicated people and enthused about the fund-raising challenges which lay ahead.”

Following a year of fundraising at MLIM, which included a highly successful auction of senior management promises/forfeits, the sale of flowers from the Merrill Lynch garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, a Last Hour Payroll Giving Appeal and some extraordinary individual contributions, staff raised over £130,000. The MLIM Charitable Trust matched staff donations of £50,000.

In 2005, in response to the increasingly difficult social situation and the ever-growing numbers of orphans, SOS Children began the construction of the country’s third SOS Children’s Village in Blantyre, in the south of the country. The MLIM-funded school, which will be closely linked to the new village, will provide education to 320 local children between the ages of 6 and 15 and give them the skills and knowledge they need to become successful, contributing members of the community.

Jeremy Sandbrook, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Malawi was not short of thanks, “On behalf of SOS Malawi, I would like to thank Merrill Lynch - and in particular Peter Hawkins and the Charity Committee - for the fundraising they have done in supporting the construction of the SOS Primary School Blantyre. Without the sel.ess dedication and support of people such as these, we would not be able to continue the work that we do here on the ground; that is supporting the most innocent and vulnerable group of them all - children.”

SOS Children currently runs 192 schools around the globe, providing over 93,000 children with an education to which they would otherwise have no access.

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