Child sponsor report from November/December 2009
The year 2009 is a year that is very significant to SOS Children’s Villages – it is a year of double celebrations for the organisation. 2009 marks 60 years since the first SOS Family was established and whilst celebrating this great occasion, it is also a very important landmark for us, the local organisation – the SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka. Many of you have been with us for a quite a number of years of these past 30 years. Your financial commitment towards our work has helped us to serve 1385 children and youth in the family based care in the five SOS Children’s Villages and over-2,100 children, youth and adults in the Family Strengthening programmes in Sri Lanka.
On behalf of children, mothers, co-workers and on my personal behalf, let me thank you for being with us to support our work for the children and keeping the light of hope burning in the lives of children in the SOS families at SOS Children’s Village Galle as well as in the Family Strengthening Programmes that we are carrying out in the neighbouring communities. Happy childhood - is the right of every child. With your continued support for our work, you have ensured that 801 children and youth who are cared in all the SOS Projects at SOS Children’s Village, Galle. Thank you.
SOS Children’s Village: 11 girls and five boys found a new home and a family at SOS Children's Village Galle. At present a total of 108 children are provided care in 12 SOS Families. All of them are currently schooling. Children, mothers and co-workers join in celebrating all the important national festivals as well as the religious festivals. This helps the young children to enrich their knowledge about the traditions and values such festivals uphold. Children at SOS Children’s Village Galle continue to excel in the martial art and this year Jayashan won a Gold Medal whilst Rasika Madushanka and Malkanthi won a Silver Medal each at the All Island Karate Competition. Nilmini was adjudged the winner for the best composed poem at a competition held by the Department of Education, Galle. She is a talented girl and we wish her well at the forthcoming provincial competitions. We are proud of their achievement. A leading Hotel in the neighbourhood gave a group of children an opportunity to be trained in swimming by one of Sri Lanka’s prominent swimmers. The children took full advantage of this opportunity and they have very much improved their swimming skills.
SOS Nursery School: SOS Children’s Village Galle continues to serve the children in their neighbouring community as well. 103 children attend the SOS Nursery School. All activities at the nursery school are focused on developing the personality of the young children attending the nursery school. In addition to celebrating the national and religious festivals, the children are participating in the annual concert and also the annual sports meet. The co-operation we receive from the parents of the children in organising these special activities is very much appreciated.
The Family Strengthening Programme – helping children in need, in the neighbouring community – has made a significant mark – in the lives of the young beneficiaries. Being able to continue their schooling and having a square meal every day means a lot for these young children. Currently 712 children and youth are enrolled in this programme. The caregivers of these children (parents and adults of the beneficiary families), are also provided with awareness programmes and self employment programmes. As adult they too need to be guided and assisted to be responsible for their own family.
Young children are provided assistance to continue their education, whilst youth and adults are helped to learn a trade so that they could earn a living. Dayasiri, a youth who is a member of one of the beneficiary families in this programme was successful in obtaining “A” Grade for Accounting and Business Studies and a “B” Grade for Economics at the Advanced Level Examination – 2008. He is currently studying at the Management Faculty of the Ruhunu University. In Dayasiri’s own words –“If I and my family did not receive the assistance from SOS Children’s Village, it would have been difficult for me to have continued my schooling”. We are happy for Dayasiri and his family for having worked hard towards making his dream come true. These communities are also encouraged to form a strong community among themselves taking up common development projects. Such activities would help build their own communities helping each other to prosper and have strong family ties. These programmes are being carried out for the communities in Galle, Gandara and Peraliya.
SOS Youth Facilities: 13 girls and 28 boys are being provided for in the SOS Youth Facilities for Girls and Boys at SOS Children’s Village Galle. Eight girls and 25 boys are resident in these Youth Facilities whilst the rest are boarded outside. Of these boys and girls some are still schooling, some are attending vocational/employment training and some have just started to work. 3 youth found employment this year. These youths, though they are resident in the SOS Youth Facilities, they continue to belong to their SOS Families. Hence they continue their relationship with their families even though they physically do not live in the SOS Family house.
2009 is also very significant for our country – the civil unrest that has been in our country came to an end. SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka was able to set up a SOS Temporary Care Centre in the Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDP) in the north of the country. 4 Dormitories – 2 for girls and 2 for boys, a kitchen and an administrative building comprises this project. As of mid October 2009, 217 girls and boys of various age groups who need care were brought home to the Centre. These children and youth were either orphans or the parents and family were separated in the chaos of activities that took place during the latter stages of the civil war in the north of Sri Lanka. We were able to reunite 15 children with their biological/extended families whilst five youth who were over 18 were admitted to follow vocational training at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Jaffna. 197 children are resident. At present more attention is given to help the children with trauma therapy and provide security, especially for girl child. The temporary school set up in the IDP Camp does not have sufficient space for all the children to attend school at the same time. Therefore young children attend school during the morning hours and the older children in the afternoon. When they are not attending school they are in the tuition classes held in the SOS Premises. Efforts are made to find their families and reunite them. At a later stage if we are unable to locate their families, such children would be continued to care for in one of the SOS Children’s Villages.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we do very much appreciate your continued commitment to support our work for the children of our country and are very proud of you. Let’s continue to work together to ensure that many more children in our country would have a happy childhood and live with love and security at all times.
Seasons’ Greetings and A Happy New Year 2010.