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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Bhersaf, Lebanon

Sponsored Children Sitting on the Steps
Sponsored Children Sitting on the Steps

A child sponsorship report from Bhersaf in Lebanon, written in 2009.

Dear Child Sponsors and Village Sponsors,

It is once again with sincere joy and commitment that we take this opportunity to keep you updated with our pedagogical and educational work.  When you will be reading this report, our children at SOS Children’s Village – Bhersaf will be busy decorating the Christmas tree with home made handicrafts like stars and candles.  

At present we care for 69 children, 31 boys and 38 girls.  They live in 11 SOS Family Houses where their SOS mothers are doing their best to give them the daily care and to encourage them to overcome the difficult moments.  During the year 2009, 3 children have been admitted.  Michella who celebrated her two years anniversary in October feels very secure with her SOS mother, Georgina.  Maribelle, 5 years, and her brother Charbel, 4 years,  who had a vulnerable childhood, are starting to adapt themselves in the SOS family.   They are so happy to go to school and to play with children of their age. 

On the educational level, our children are having the adequate support to do well at school.   The school success is 94.6%.   Congratulations to Randa and Stephanie who have succeeded in the official complementary diploma “Brevet”.  Actually 59 boys and girls are attending the primary and complementary levels.  8 children under 5 years are in Junior or Senior kindergarten and 2 little ones are going to the nursery.  

In October 2009, 1 young girl and 6 young boys have joined the SOS Youth Houses.  Actually there are 17  adolescents who are continuing their academic or technical studies.  In the SOS Youth Home, and under the SOS Youth Leaders’ guidance, they are directly involved in decisions that concern their future and begin to assume responsibilities concerning their daily life such as organizing cultural and outdoor activities,…..  

In order to maintain a good relation between the child and his/her biological family, we send most of our children to spend a two weeks vacation in their natural family during the summer.   They usually look forward to that.  When they take a child under their care, SOS mothers become more familiar with his/her family background.  With the SOS social worker’s help and sometimes with the psychologist’s help, our SOS mothers  do their best to preserve a good family relation with the biological family.   Most of the time, the parents and child relations are good but whenever there is a problem, we try to find a solution in the child’s best interest.  

Unfortunately some of the children cannot visit their family of origin whenever there is a serious problem that could be harmful for them.  In this case, the SOS social worker tries hard to convince the father, the mother or both of them to attend a family-counseling program.   Sometimes, we succeed and some other time we have to accept the hard reality but we do not give up. 

For this summer season, 19 children couldn’t spend the vacation with their biological family.   The SOS Village Director proposed to send them to a summer camp and the children were very enthusiastic.   They participated to a wide variety of outdoor programs including environmental education, adventure education, and outdoor recreation.   They have learned to have different ways of responding to new and challenging situations, to develop a good team spirit and better communication skills.  It had a positive impact on their emotional growth and general psychological well-being. 

On the 21st of June,  we celebrated three special events: SOS Children’s Villages 60th Anniversary worldwide, 40th  Anniversary of the first SOS Children’s Village in Lebanon – Bhersaf and International SOS Day.   Children and youths from our four SOS Children’s Villages, SOS mothers, SOS friends and invited guests all converged on SOS Children’s Village – Bhersaf to join in the triple celebration.   Our guest of honor, the First Lady of Lebanon, Mrs. Wafaa Souleiman, attended the celebrations.   During her two hours visits, she has assisted to two dancing shows presented by our children.  Then she has graciously attended the photo-souvenir moment surrounded by all our children and holding in her arms the youngest girl in the village, Michella.   Before leaving, Mrs. Souleiman, visited one family house and listened attentively to the SOS mother telling her about her daily life.  

21st of June was a day full of excitement.   In the morning, the little children were busy playing various fair games such as: pin the tail of a donkey, fishing a duck,… The painting faces kiosk had a great success and the magic show too.  A famous musical band entertained our teenagers and invited them for a karaoke show.   It was a great festive atmosphere.   For lunchtime, SOS mothers opened their houses and SOS children were so happy to get to know each other better.   A catering company offered its services and the food was delicious.   In the afternoon, former SOS youth, some of them with their wives and children came to visit and it was such a touching and great family reunion.  The day ended with a farewell song and when closing the bus doors children were still waving their hands until the bus was far away…

Together we continue doing our best to strengthen our children’s hopes in a happier future.   Thank you for your fidelity.  On Christmas Eve, after singing carols and opening their gifts, our children at SOS Children’s Village – Bhersaf will have a special thought for their dearest sponsors.  They wish you all what is good during this Holy Season and for the year 2010.