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A Changed Life

A Changed Life
SOS Kinderdorf
A Changed Life


When Dawit Mulugeta Dame was just 5, his HIV-positive mother died, leaving Dawit to face life on his own. Fortunately, SOS Children’s Villages welcomed him as well as (then) 150 other orphans to SOS Children’s Village Harar, Ethiopia. To this day, the Harar region of Ethiopia remains one of the poorest in the world, beset by little water, high rates of HIV among adults and children and a struggling economy. But SOS Children’s Villages makes a difference.

Swissotel Hotels & Resorts is proud to partner with this organization, which provides schooling and a home-like setting for orphaned and abandoned children in 134 countries worldwide. In 2012, we joined them in inviting 50 leading personalities to Geneva, where they attended an exclusive exhibit featuring the works of photographer Katja Snozzi, well known for her impressive black-and-white portraits of children in Africa and other poverty-stricken regions. We donated 100% of the event proceeds to SOS Children’s Village Harar.

That same year, 22 Swissotel Geneva team members volunteered to run a combined total of 127 kilometers during the 24 hours of Vitality Day to raise funds for schools and families for Harar’s children in need.

As a partner, we focus on children in situations most of us cannot imagine, and raise funds for their care and education to emerge as productive members of their communities, and sometimes help make an even bigger difference.

Take Dawit. At 5, he joined SOS Children’s Village Harar, was placed with a loving “mother” (the organisation’s goal for every child), entered the Hermann Gmeiner School (named for the founder of SOS Children's Villages) and discovered that he was an excellent student.

At 25, Dawit has qualified for international college and the chance to study in the United States. While excited about the opportunity, he doesn’t plan to abandon the orphans and children of Harar. Dawit hopes to return after college to share his experience and training with his “SOS mother” and others in SOS Children’s Village Harar, which is home to 690 orphaned and abandoned children. “If we give our best, the world is open to us,” he says. Join us in helping Dawit create a world of opportunity for today’s orphans.

Learn more about SOS Children’s Village and how you can contribute at