November 1st, 2009
The village in Zimbabwe is now home to 198 children – 145 village children and 53 youths, after receiving two more boys in July. The boys are aged seven and nine years. All the children are generally in good health, and the village has not experienced any serious illnesses during the period under review. In spite of the financial challenges that the village is facing because of the global credit crunch, we have been able to feed all the children adequately. The village nutrition garden has come in handy in this regard, supplying the bulk of the vegetable needs of all the houses in the village. All this has contributed to the children’s good health.
The education sector has improved nationwide, and there is now meaningful learning in schools. However, the effects of last year’s disturbances in the education sector are still being felt, as children are behind in their respective syllabi. This has necessitated the continuation the tutorial programme in the village, from primary to secondary schooling. At secondary school, the programme focuses mainly on Mathematics, Science and English, the three subjects that many children find very challenging.
The period under review also witnessed an improvement in ‘O’ level examinations (a school leaving certificate received after four years of secondary school). Two boys who performed exceptionally well in this examination are now doing ‘A’ level, which is an entry qualification for university education. Five others who are at SOS International College in Ghana also passed their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), and will be proceeding to International Baccalaureate (IB) stage this academic year.
The village celebrated this year’s SOS Day with a difference. It was not just plays, games and other activities as usual. To reflect its child-centred approach, the village adopted the theme “Show me love, and I will Grow to Love”. All the children’s plays, poems, songs and drama were built around this theme. Particularly touching was the song: “Love is not love until you give it away…until you give it way… and you know that’s love…”
Children continue to take part in a number of sporting activities such as soccer and other ball games. Recently 30 of our children were invited to take part as escorts and ball pickers in a Nestle Shield Soccer Cup final. In addition, with the onset of summer in Zimbabwe, children are already itching to go for swimming, and water games are already a household name.
Children are also involved in a variety of small projects such as poultry keeping, “hair saloon” where they practice their hair braiding skills, and nutrition gardening. In about two weeks’ time the ‘Green Oasis’ garden, as the children call their nutrition garden that was established with the aid of Lead Trust (an NGO), will be ready to supply onions, carrots and beetroots to the houses.
The SOS Nursery
The nursery enrolment now stands at 152 after admitting two more children last term. Thirteen of these children come from SOS Children’s Village and thirteen others are on the SOS Scholarship Programme. We have had one baby on the baby stimulation programme during the period under review.
The nursery is running a holiday programme for SOS children who are in Grades one to three. The children attend the programme twice a week. The activities include games, sewing and cooking.
We celebrated Africa Day with the assistance of co-workers who held discussions with children on how they grew up, their favourite games, dishes and music as well as the type of dance they enjoyed. In celebrating SOS Day, our Kindergarten soccer team played against Thembiso Children’s Home, our adopted nursery school situated in the neighbouring community. This year the nursery won an SOS Trophy. The Day of the African Child saw the educators coming up with various themes based on Children’s Rights and their Responsibilities. The themes were then incorporated into songs, poetry and drama, which were done by the children.
The nursery held a Parenting Skills workshop which was well attended. The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) painted children’s equipment and gutters. They also purchased six carpets for the group rooms and three oil heaters.
The SOS Primary School
Two of our pupils had the honour to galand King Mswati III on arrival at the airport when he visited Bulawayo in June. Our Junior Rugby Boys got a donation of beautiful Rugby Jerseys from a well-wisher by the name Bruce Hoatson from South Africa. We purchased a good range of reading textbooks. A Broad band Internet Service was installed at the school. However, the malfunction of the reservoir is hindering progress on the grounds. The sports field and the lawns need to be watered and maintained all the time.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme
We conducted 105 workshops in different areas of work in the community. Careers Day was held on 5 June 2009 at a secondary school in the local community. Nineteen exhibitors from government, parastatal, and NGOs attended. Students benefited immensely from these careers exhibitions.
Sobukhazi High School’s metalwork department, one of the schools that we work with, successfully produced 90 desks and 90 chairs with support from the Family Strengthening Programme.
The Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) has come on board on a partnership relationship to boost our income generating projects. Loans will soon be accessed from the bank. So far, 47 loan accounts for projects have been opened.
Your continued unwavering support for our children is greatly appreciated, and we pledge to invest all our effort and determination to see that children in need of care, love and security get the necessary support to ensure their integration into society.