Helmut Kutin was born in Bolzano, Italy, in 1941. Following a family tragedy, he was admitted to the world’s first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, Austria, in 1953. Later he moved to the SOS Youth House in Innsbruck, Austria. After his graduation from high school, Kutin enrolled as a student of economics at Innsbruck University.
Helmut Kutin has dedicated the past three decades of his life to providing permanent homes and loving families to abandoned, abused and neglected children throughout the world. Kutin himself lived as an orphan at the world’s first SOS Children’s Village in Imst, Tyrol, Austria, where he arrived at age 12 in 1953.
Among his accomplishments are the first Vietnamese SOS Children’s Village, located in Go Vap, Saigon, and the first two villages in the People’s Republic of China. Under Kutin’s guidance, nearly 200 SOS Children’s Villages have been built around the world.
Lengthy discussions with Hermann Gmeiner in 1967 induced Kutin to give up his work in the field of tourism and as a tutor, and to take on his first assignment for SOS Children’s Villages International. He started the construction of the first Vietnamese SOS Children’s Village in what is now Ho Chi Minh City. In 1968, Kutin was appointed director of the village, at the time the biggest SOS Children’s Village in the world. He subsequently set up and supervised further SOS Children’s Village facilities in Vietnam before he had to leave the country one year after the end of the war in 1976.
In response to his outstanding achievements for SOS Children’s Villages, Helmut Kutin was appointed SOS Children’s Villages International’s representative for Asia in 1971. Thanks to his pioneering work, over fifty SOS Children’s Villages and another fifty supporting facilities were built on this continent within a few years. Other major achievements include the resumption of SOS Children’s Village work in Vietnam in 1987 and the opening of the first two SOS Children’s Villages in China in the same year.
In 1985 Helmut Kutin was elected to succeed Hermann Gmeiner as President of the umbrella organization SOS Children’s Villages International and thus became the most senior representative of SOS Children’s Villages worldwide.
Helmut Kutin resigned as President at the 2012 General Assembly and was succeeded by Siddhartha Kaul. Honoring his lifelong commitment to the work of SOS Children’s Villages, he has been given the title ‘Honorary President’.