The Children’s Village Bissau, SOS Mothers, SOS Aunts and all the staff members, wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy new year. We would like you to share with us both our country news and daily life of your sponsored children in SOS Villages that your kind contribution enables them to have a family, a state of good health and full of joy.
Social, Economic and political situation
Guinea-Bissau has gone through a harsh crisis with the event that took place in the first quarter of the present year with the assassination of the former president of the Republic and the former chief of Army Staff. That brought about the presidential election to take place before the due time. Another factor is the global recession which affects most of the poor countries. So Guinea-Bissau government is undergoing many difficulties such as payment of wages, health problems, unemployment and teachers’ strike that really brought a set back on school calendar.
SOS Children’s Village
In accordance with the new children’s admission regulation, we have just selected 18 new children to fill in the vacancy in the family houses. Bissau village has now 108 children among them 54 are girls and 54 boys from the age of 2 months to 19 years. The SOS youths regularly have meetings with the youth leader, the social assistant and the village nurse to discuss on important issues and give advice to these youths on sexual transmittable diseases, on future re-settlement to their biological families and advise them on future career.
As far as SOS Mothers and Aunts’ training is concerned, the director and tutors of SOS Nursery School lecture them on capacities strengthening, child psychology, literature, songs, different types of games and practical demonstrations. Skill work, educative programmes and physical exercise to combat stress are organized too.
The family house No 8 received the delegation headed by their sponsored with activities such as cultural dancing, poems, traditional songs presented by the village cultural group. The delegation presented a lot of gifts to the children and also to the entire village.
In December the village is preparing Christmas and New Year sending out invitations to some biological parents of children and friends from the neighbouring community. And at this time the village team organized collective anniversary for all children into the village. The children participated on cleaning, painting and decorating the village and the elders help their SOS Mothers and Aunts in the preparation of lunch. Children will receive presents from their SOS mothers, some local sponsors and international sponsors.
SOS Mothers have contributed a lot to the success of their children that if to be rate it is 87% input. The Village has a monitoring team and they always meet at every quarter to assess the performance of the students. SOS Mothers also play an active part during these meetings. Extra lessons are also organized to help children with academic difficulties.
The SOS schools in Guinea-Bissau opened October 1st after 3 months of vacation. The occasion was signalized in the presence of pupils and parents who have come for the ceremony with a welcoming speech delivered by the school Director, pupils were happy to meet their colleagues back and the teachers as well.
The International Child Day was celebrated at school and SOS Children participated massively. There was a high degree of success among the students (78, 3%). 3 SOS Children came out with distinction. One of them was selected into the youth parliament organized by the Woman and Child Institute in the National Parliament. 5 Children (3 girls and 2 boys) passed their primary school exam and are now in the SOS Polytechnic High School.
SOS Polytechnic High School
The Technical School closed in June. Forty three out of 468 students enrolled for the academic year 2008/2009 are SOS Children (4 out of the 43 belong to those who were partially resettled into their respective biological families). Among the best students of the year 5 are from the SOS Children’s Village. According to the SOS Village Bissau director, the distinguished pupils will be motivated with a gift to signalize their great achievements in the closed academic year. Besides there are 2 SOS internal girls and a boy in preparatory lessons to enter a 5 years Medicine Course at “Universidade Lusofona da Guiné” in Bissau city. There are 4 partially resettled youths also studying in the two existing Universities in Bissau while 7 others are taking professional courses in the vocational centers around Bissau. In addition we have 5 others (3 SOS girls and 2 boys) studying in Cuba and in Brazil. Their dreams vary as they grow up and develop themselves academically. Informatics engineering, civil construction, arts, teaching job/infant, educator and medicine studies are the most targeted by them at this stage. They are also doing football, basket ball, music, theater, traditional dance.
Sporting and Cultural Programme
In September, and for the first time in Guinea Bissau since 1989, a parade was organized to celebrate the National Day. Bissau SOS Village’s children participated in the event for the first time and received warmly applaud. During the celebration, SOS Children were divided into two groups: some in SOS T-Shirts and others in traditional costumes. They were all happy to take part in this event and even one of the SOS children was interviewed by the media.
During the celebration of the world peace Games Day, SOS Childrens International Guinea Bissau, in partnership with FIFA, has financed a friendly tournament in which only girls took part. There were female teams from the SOS neighbouring community and a large audience attended. It was a real fair-play game.
SOS Social Center
The SOS neighbouring community attends computer and languages classes, adult education, sewing and other activities in the Social Center. 8 young girls benefitted from the Family Strengthening Programme a 3 month sewing training.
Concerning health, Bissau region and the Bijagos Islands suffered from cholera epidemic because of lack of clean water. But fortunately for the SOS neighbouring community, SOS has built some fountains to supply clean water to them. The world day “Washing Hands” has been promoted by UNICEF and SOS received invitation to take part. 50 tutors and 174 children are benefitting from the Family Strengthening Programme. They frequently go to the medical centre for free medical care, drugs and psychological counseling. The coordinating team visits them regularly.
Deep gratitude, from your sponsored child for all your cares and sense of belonging that have been always showed by you and wish you all the best and more grace to your elbow.