Currently SOS Children’s Village Manaus has 14 SOS houses, being 13 within the village and one outside-the-village, placed in a nearby community and makes part of pilot project. For 2 years we have been working in this project with great success and positive results, aiming to insert the SOS family in the local community. Our adjustment to the new National Plan on Community and Family Based Care1 has been tranquil. Both Family-based Care (PAF in Portuguese) and Community and Family Strengthening Programmes (PFFC in Portuguese) are more integrated every day, putting into practice what the National Plan suggests according to our organisation’s principles and mission.
With great enthusiasm, in 2009 we started a partnership with Petrobras and Rio Preto da Eva City Hall to open an SOS Social Centre in this city assisting 150 children between 5 and 12 years old. There children have socio-educative activities after or before school, avoiding them to stay on the street while they are not at school. In Manuas, the goal 2009 is to assist 150 children between 3 and 14 years old in the Social Centre and 150 in the Community Centre Esperança do Amanhã (Hope for Tomorrow), based in Novo Israel district.
Family-based Care aims to assist 132 children, from 0 to 19 years old, within its 14 SOS houses. On the table beside, you can see the number of our beneficiaries currently.
Year started with summer school vacation and a lovely camp. Several of our children spent vacation together with their biological families strengthening the affective bond. It is a very important moment and opportunity for children since they have started to live the daily routine of their birth family, knowing better the environment in which they will live again after be reintegrated. Those ones that could not spend summer with their birth families for some reason were to a Holiday Camp, in a nearby farm, organised by the SOS mothers. They had lots of fun, running, climbing trees, swimming, and enjoying nature! And when they returned they already wanted to know when they would get there again. Moments like these give them the will of staying a little bit, but as not everything is holiday, it’s time to study and to make the educational activities.
To a better understand of the restructuring of emotional bonds, once the child is admitted we try to approach the family through activities of social-assistance: home visits, social work, guidance and guidelines. When the relationship started, the leaders along with their SOS mothers work the education of their children so that in the future the child can be able to return to the bosom of their biological family. We keep this year with an estimated 70% of the parents’ approach of their children for future reintegration. We emphasize that at the end of the year we may have some family reintegration and independence of young people who would come to the semi-independent housing programme, and some will live with their families and others will take responsibility for living alone.
School started again in February. It is a time to meet classmates and tell about what were done during summer. Having a good performance at school so far, everybody is interested and participates actively in school events, like Environment Day, Easter, and Indian Day.
We would like to point out a great experience which happened with Abraim, 10 years old, who arrived here in the village in February and is going to school for the first time. At first he had opposite feelings, since he was full of enthusiasm and insecure at the same time. But little by little he is feeling more secure, making new friends and learning new things. ’It’s very good, aunt, learn the alphabet. I’ve two nice classmates who help me with the class exercises, it isn't so hard as I thought before.’ These are some Abraim’s words about school. He is learning to read and write very quickly. Also in February there was a break in classes for the Carnival and the Amazonas State University through the Arts course promoted the Carnival Ball for the kids from the programs of the SOS Village, it was a moment of relaxation and an opportunity to highlight the Brazilian culture. The kids have had a very good time in the masquerade ball!
In March the company Tucunaré tourism provided an afternoon of fun on its bus ride to the children and teenagers in its tourist bus. They loved this outing in which they could discover Manaus’s most interesting and attractive sights and in the end they had ice-cream and cotton-candy. It was a pleasant and enjoyable time.
Later this month the children from Family-Based Care and Community and Family Strengthening Programmes gave special attention to Women’s Day, addressing the theme "women and their rights". They made posters and each child made a card for their mothers. The dance group of the SOS Village made a special presentation to the collaborators of the SOS Village and after that there was a party for all.
Highlights goes to the dance group since it has been asked to do several presentations for teachers as the Municipal Department of Education, who were preparing their training in the Auditorium of the Village in March. In April, the kids danced for children and families from SOS Social Centre of Rio Preto da Eva, who insisted on giving a warm welcome on their own.
During Petrobras Environment Week, our dance group danced the choreograph Amazônia, showing group skills, as you can see on this picture. The audience praised them a lot. Talking about environment, Ketlen, 8 years old, won a prize in her school for her beautiful drawing on this theme. There was an exhibition, pictures were taken and she was praised by her teachers. Her SOS mother is very proud.
Some children and teenagers took part in a very important event in which they were protagonists together with some governmental and non-governmental organs of Children’s and Adolescents' Rights. It was a national mobilisation for Children’s and Adolescents' Rights named Criança não é de rua [Children not on the street], a national campaign that is raising the population to this important cause.
Other events were also attended by some teenagers as the seminar on prevention and fight against alcoholism and narcotic and public budget, Municipal and State conference on the rights of children and adolescents (conducted in August and September) always stood out with their involvement in creating guidelines for the ten-year plan of policies focus on that public.
Our horizons of mobilization and advocacy were extended to the municipality of Rio Preto da Eva, in June, the PFFC children participated in the national campaign on the prevention of child labor. It was a campaign that counted on local support, it was very interesting the perception of children on the subject, they made posters on the issue and no one missed the parade, they had a great time and it was the first time they participated in a public act and the best of everything was to understand this act and the awareness that led to their families and neighbors.
Along the year the children from the Family-based Care Programme has participated in several courses: dance (classical ballet and contemporary), handicrafts, drawing and football. Teens are participating in the Citizen program with several sports activities like volleyball, dance, and handball. Some teens are an Internship Program4 a partnership with the Company Manaus - Energy and CIEE beyond the professional courses.
We started this month, at every Monday, to youth meeting. It is a time to prevent and prepare for a better life to our future adults, in which the adolescents from 12 to 17 y.o. learn, discuss and express opinions on several subjects such as drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, ECA, teenage pregnancy, violation of rights, violence.
In October we celebrate the Children's Day, when we will spend an entire day to play. This year we will have a wonderful party promoted by employees of a language school. We are confident that everybody will enjoy. At that time there will also be a breakfast offered by friends SOS who will be able to know more about our children.
Next November, our traditional Feijoada will happen, an event that has become a tradition to celebrate the anniversary of the SOS Village of Manaus and also to raise funds to assist with the monetary funds the maintenance of the SOS Village. There will be several presentations, including the two dance groups from the SOS Village, one with regional music and the other one dancing pop songs.
There are several other activities planned until the end of this year such as cultural tours and Christmas celebration, which is very expected by our children, who beyond the real reason of this celebration will be very happy and will have a lot fun opening of their gifts.
By our everyday actions we can realise that much has been done, but we know that there is still much to do. We hope that together with you we can improve everyday our work to help children, families and community.
Our children and teenagers wish you all a Christmas of Peace, Health, Love and Happiness. May 2010 be a year of hope, peace, new achievements and much love and happiness.