As usual this time of the year, we are so pleased to give you our best regards and share with you some of the activities carried out along the year here at our SOS Children´s Village Cusco, which currently shelters 112 children from 13 families. 5 young people are living in Youth Facilities, while 26 have decided themselves for different housing options (semi-independent housing, reinsertion into biological families, etc.).
Our Family Strengthening Programme through the Social Centre assists 128 children of ages between 3 and 4 years of age as well as their big siblings, offering them leveling lessons, while 798 children and their families are being supported at the 29 childminding programmes. Different events and activities took place during the year. On the Day of the Family a colorful parade was organized where children and mothers wearing typical costumes marched through the main streets of the city carrying banners with slogans related to this special occasion. To celebrate the Children´s Day there was a very nice party with clowns, games, and, of course sweet stuff to eat. The children had a lot of fun taking part in the different games and contests, encouraged by the friendly clowns.
The effects of the swine flu (AH1N1) did not past unnoticed in our country. For this reason, as a prevention measure we offered a workshop on this topic, in order to train and keep our families informed about the causes and effects of this virus. Thanks to these and other prevention measures no case of swine flu was registered in our facilities.
In August took place the meeting of CONADENNA (National Committee for the Rights of Children and Adolescents), led by SOS Children´s Villages countrywide. This time the topic was “The situation of children´s rights 20 years after the Convention”. The enthusiasm of our child and youth leaders, selected by other children to represent them, was overwhelming. Six children of our Children´s Village took part at a regional level.
In September we celebrated the beginning of spring time (The Day of the Youth) with a very interesting activity aimed at young people over 14 including SOS young people living independently. In this event they had the opportunity to express their opinion about the services provided to them by SOS and how to improve them. As this was the second event of this kind, they had the opportunity to see that their opinions from last year had been heard, and this was very motivating for them. This meeting was led by themselves and we felt proud to see their leadership and communication skills, as well as their ability to propose solutions and to be self-critical.
Some days later they went on an integration trip to Sicuani (6 hours away from Cusco by bus), and had a great time remembering their childhood at the Children´s Village.
In October, the Major of Santiago (the district where our village is located) awarded our mothers and aunts a recognition for their hard work and commitment on behalf of Peruvian childhood. They felt very happy and honored that some of them told the auditorium some of their experiences as SOS mothers and aunts. The Major got very emotional and offered more support to the organization through community activities on behalf of our Children´s Village, such a reforestation project, thanks to which the children could plant 4 little plants in the front garden of their houses, which they are supposed to take care of. This is a good way to make them aware of environmental issues.
On November 3rd 19 women from all Children´s Villages countrywide were officially appointed as SOS Mothers in a very special ceremony carried out at the Swissôtel in Lima. Three of them are from Cusco: Elva, Maritza and Jenny. This was of course an unforgettable experience for them, as well as a motivation to keep on working with passion and engagement towards a common goal: the wellbeing of children in risk.
Big challenges are expected in the years to come, and SOS co-workers are well aware of them. For this reason, training has become a very critical issue. Courses on legal and pedagogical topics have been offered, as well as workshops about sexuality, child raising guidelines, gender equality, among others. We also work in coordination with the community and local authorities to promote the respect for children´s rights and to fight against poverty, child abuse, and family violence. We join the efforts of most institutions and organizations to demand a larger budget for health care, and education.
But nothing could be possible without the love and unconditional support of generous and committed persons like you. Thank you very much!
Miguel Arévalo Angeles
SOS Children´s Village Cusco