Hermann Gmeiner Award winners 2014

Great role models in their communities

Thank you very much for participating. In the last 30 days we received from all around the world almost 90,000 votes for the finalists of the Hermann Gmeiner Award. “Our congratulation goes to Maya Dhal from India and Deepak KC from Nepal”, commended Siddhartha Kaul, President of SOS Children’s Villages International, and Helmut Kutin, President of the Hermann Gmeiner Academy. The Hermann Gmeiner Award recognises a man and a woman that have been supported by SOS Children’s Villages during their childhood and are today inspiring role models in their communities.

“Both winners have in their own way shared their passion with other children who are less fortunate. In spite of difficulties they persevered and continue to do so. Deepak has a passion for the aid for the disabled and Maya for education. Both share their passion with children who have been denied - a true reflection of SOS Family values,” said the presidents in their joint statement.

The voting has been an exciting race, especially between the two male finalists, Deepak from Nepal and Cirilo Burgos from Paraguay. For a long time it looked like Cirilo would win. But instead of giving up, the Nepalese fans of Deepak taught in classrooms how to vote for Deepak and contacted lots of celebrities to rally their fans for him. When Nepal’s famous rock star Amrit Gurung and BBC Journalist Rabindra Mishra posted an appeal to vote for Deepak on their Facebook pages, the tide turned. The 23rd of June marks the birthday of Hermann Gmeiner, the SOS Children’s Village founder who was born in Austria in 1919. For Siddhartha Kaul and Helmut Kutin this is the perfect day to announce the Hermann Gmeiner Award winners:

“Striving to create the conditions that will enable an ever growing number of young men and women to reach their full potential is the best way of honouring Hermann Gmeiner. Improving the lives of those around you so that they can in turn improve the lives of those around them is precisely the goal to which our founder was dedicated,” presidents Kaul and Kutin said. Both winners will be invited to Innsbruck for an official ceremony in October. That is when both presidents will be happy to express their admiration for what they have accomplished: “Please join us in congratulating Maya and Deepak, and let us do everything in our power to ensure that the “harvest” of young, passionate people like them will continue to grow for many years to come!”