The main celebration took place on 27 September in the SOS Social Centre Sarajevo in the presence of President Helmut Kutin, the Bosnian Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Mirsad Kebo, and other distinguished guests and long-term supporters.
Mr Kebo thanked President Kutin and SOS Children's Villages for giving the Bosnian children in need a ray of hope amidst the madness of war and for the ongoing efforts in the post-war years. "Your greatest award is a child's smile. I know you have many such awards, and I hope you will have them even more in the future."
Prior to the celebration President Kutin was welcomed by the President of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mr Ivo Mijo Jovic. "Out of the many needs our society has, the most urgent one is the need of the children," said Mr Jovic. "It is indeed a great privilege to have an organization like SOS Children's Villages here in Bosnia & Herzegovina which, I believe, fulfils this noble task with excellence."
President Kutin also took the opportunity to visit the two Bosnian SOS Children's Villages, in Gracanica and Sarajevo, and awarded 13 SOS mothers with the 'SOS Ring of Honour'. "This is not the first ring I received in my life. But, this is a special one. This ring gives me strength, hope and the will to carry on being an SOS mother for many years to come," said SOS mother Amira.
The four-year-long civil war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended in December 1995 with the signing of the General Framework Agreement. The aftermath brought new challenges for the young country which is still fighting poverty, faces instable social and ethnical circumstances and is still largely dependent on the international community.
In 1994 SOS Children's Villages launched three Emergency Relief Programmes for the Bosnian children in need. Today SOS Children's Villages Bosnia & Herzegovina runs two SOS Children's Villages, two SOS Youth Facilities, two SOS Kindergartens, one SOS Social Centre and one Family Strengthening Programme.