2 May 2005
Bergesen Worldwide Ltd., the world’s largest privately owned shipping company, is sponsoring the construction of an SOS Children’s Village in Nigeria. Partnering with SOS Children’s Villages Norway, Bergesen Worldwide will provide new homes and related infrastructure for orphan children in Gwagwalada, a town outside the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Bergesen Worldwide has agreed to fund the construction of the new SOS Children’s Villages project in Gwagwalada, a commitment worth over US$2 million. In addition to providing a new permanent home to 120 orphans, the project will include a kindergarten, a school, a social centre and a medical centre benefitting over 12,500 children.
“As a company with strong relations in Nigeria, we are keen to contribute to the work done to help its orphan children, an issue of great significance in Nigeria today. Through this excellent project, we see the opportunity to help Nigerian children to a better future,” said Dr. Helmut Sohmen at Bergesen Worldwide.
“SOS Children’s Villages is an extremely experienced and respected organisation, and an ideal partner for Bergesen in this initiative,” Dr. Sohmen continued. “We believe that such projects are a vital part of corporate social responsibility. Through project visits and encouraging staff to ‘godparent’ individual orphans, we hope that we can stay close to the project and ensure its ongoing success.”
“We are extremely grateful for this commitment from Bergesen Worldwide. By channelling this funding through SOS Children’s Villages, the company is forming a powerful coalition to give children who need it a new family,” said Svein Grønnern, Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages in Norway.
The construction of the village is expected to commence during the summer of 2005 and to be completed by the summer of 2007. It will be the third SOS Children’s Village in Nigeria. The first was constructed at Isolo in the city of Lagos in 1970, and the second, in Owu-Ijebu, (approx 145 km east of Lagos), was finished in 1996. Nigeria has 7 million orphans under the age of 17 of which an estimated 1.8 million are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
The SOS Children’s Villages Project in Gwagwalada will consist of:
- An SOS Children’s Village with 12 family houses for 120 children.
- An SOS Kindergarten with three classes and a capacity of 75 children
- An SOS Herman Gmeiner School with six classrooms for 210 children
- An SOS Social Centre with a medical clinic, with capacity to serve 12 500
- In addition there are plans for a sports- and soccer field to serve the children in the area as well as the children of the SOS-Children’s Village.
Bergesen Worldwide Limited is the holding company for a fleet of vessels involved in the transportation of gas (LNG and LPG), crude oil and dry bulk commodities as well as floating oil and gas production. Bergesen d.y. ASA, Norway’s largest shipping company, was acquired by Sohmen family interests in 2003, and is now operating together with the World-Wide Shipping fleet, an organisation founded by Sir Y.K. Pao (Sohmen’s late father-in-law).
Bergesen Worldwide is involved in the transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for Nigeria LNG Limited, with one vessel delivered and a further seven under construction.
This SOS Children’s Villages commitment follows in a long tradition of donations to charitable causes by the Sohmen/Pao family, particularly in the realm of education. Previous contributions include the construction of Ningbo University in China and the Sino-British Friendship Scholarship Scheme (together with the governments of China and the UK), amongst many others.
SOS Children’s Villages
SOS Children’s Villages is an independent, non-governmental social development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interest and rights of children for 55 years. The focuses of our work are abandoned children requiring care and support and disadvantaged families. SOS-Children’s Villages and youth facilities are now home to some 58,000 children and adolescents on all continents. Hundreds of thousands of people benefit from our educational, social, medical and emergency relief programmes.