People say that a year passes like a breath. It may be the truth for those who don’t have a child to watch grow, but certainly not the truth for those who watch many children, like we do in SOS Children’s Village Kotayk and for those who have a mission to care for a child, to do any favour for them in general, even a day has a significant meaning. Another year filled with joys, successes and failures is behind us. And even so, we are not discouraged. We learnt that happiness is not only laying in big accomplishments but truly in small everyday challenges we succeed to overcome.
So, winter 2009 is gone and we have just welcomed the summer season. SOS Children’s Village Kotayk, Armenia is sending its warm summer greetings to you, flourished by childish happy smiles and full swing.
With great pleasure we would like to share with you the latest happenings and recent developments that have taken place in the SOS Children’s Village Kotayk during the last 6 months, yet, in fact it is impossible to mention all of them. However, there are some we would like to share with you at the same time remembering once more that without donations from the supporters our work would be impossible, and every penny we are given is a great help towards the work we do.
As a tradition the year started with happy celebrations of New Year and Christmas. The village hosted a lot of new and old friends who brought with them joy and happiness, and didn’t forget about the gifts.
As a first and one of the utmost aspects in our children’s life is the maintenance and support of the biological ties between their biological past, and in the result regular contacts are kept between the children and their biological families. Biological families are involved in decision making process and joint activities to a maximum possible extent. As a vivid evidence we can cite the fact that at the beginning of March one of our SOS-children returned to the biological family upon the parents’ wish. It’s very joyful that the child’s parents had very serious approach towards the issue and had done their best to provide the child with safe and normal environment and gave a feeling of the full member of the family. But from the other hand psychologically it was very difficult not only for the child, where SOS sisters and brothers had been acquired, but for the SOS family as well. The SOS mother had prepared farewell dinner for the whole family in order to alleviate the child’s touched and upset emotions. But anyhow the fact that the child was returning to his own cradle, was very joyful itself and somehow softened any difficulty. Moreover, the co-workers of the local authorities assured that the family would be under their full control until the child is matured, in order preclude that the child appears out of home for the second time.
Adjacent to the organisation Vision International People’s Group, a charity foundation, named “Mission”, every year traditionally organises numerous programmes, amongst International Festival “Christmas Dream”, where only the children from different orphanage houses of different countries are invited together with their leaders. This year our SOS-village was selected from Armenia, and two children, a girl and a boy together with the Village Director went to Vologda Region (Russia), Veliki Ustyug, which is the official residence of the Russian Santa Claus. Usually the festival lasts 2 days, and this year it had been organised on February 7-8. Children had been invited almost from all the CIS countries (Belarus, Armenia, Russia, Lithonia), while reaching to Moscow all together with the same train left for Veliki Ustyug. It’s worthy to mention it was a long, almost 1 day way, and during the journey, already in the train children from different nationalities made friends, telling each other about his or her countries and its peculiarities. They met Santa Claus, a lot of events and entertainments with participation of all the famous fairy tale heroes took place. Before going to the festival all the children were assigned to prepare national puppet-souvenirs. In the competition our children won the prize “Wonderful and Grandeur National Costume”, which had been made by children themselves, in the village sewing circle. It was so attractive for our children that they even didn’t feel the minus 37 C temperature.
Coming back to Moscow they visited the Russian SOS Children's Village Tomilino, had an excursion in Moscow, bought presents for every member of their SOS family. Our children spent a wonderful time there and returned back with great impressions and unforgettable memories.
To make children’s life more interesting, purposeful and to promote their development a lot of activities and events were organised within as well as out of the Children's Village.
This year in May two Armenian sisters, who are living in Belgium more than 10 years, together with their mother decided to christen and be the god-parents of parentless and not christened children. So their wish came into life, and 6 suchlike children (3 boys and 3 girls) were christened on May 28, the day which we officially celebrate as the National Independence Day. The event had been very well organised, the ceremony took place in the church (in one of our previous years’ reports we had told you about the christening ceremony in details), and afterwards all returned to the village with enthusiasm where warm hospitality and happy feast had been waiting for them. The event was a real memorable both for the christened children and for their god-mothers, as well as for the whole village, as the village acquired new kind friends.
It has become a good tradition in the village to celebrate March 08 and April 07. They both are somehow like each other-the first one is the Day of Maternity and the second one is the Day of Beauty. The village was buzzing by children’s whisper how to plan one of the most exciting and meaningful celebrations – Mother’s Day for twelve mothers. The whole village and the children were involved in the preparation process for making this day really special for mothers. Greeting cards were prepared for mothers, concert was held attended by the youths from all the Youth Facilities. Children were singing and saying rhymes about mothers. They expressed their feelings towards mothers and mothers couldn’t hide their emotions and tears.
Our village is already getting prepared for an anniversary-next year in 2010 we will be 20 years old.
We want to tell you a little about the Youth Facilities where in general life has been very active during these months, and their Individual Development Plans are mostly vividly coming into life. Currently, three Youth facilities are functioning in Yerevan, capital city of Armenia where 31 young girls and boys are living there. Some of them have already started vocational training courses and some get higher education. In order to be more competitive on the labour market the youngsters study secondary profession, most of them have already found jobs and get working experience. With the support of the qualified youth workers, the young people develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to share responsibilities and start making decisions on their own. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and maintain contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.
One of the main missions of the organisation is to care for the education of children and youngsters, as the high quality education provides the basis for reaching the core goal of SOS Children’s Village organisation – autonomy and independence of children. These projects, on the one hand, contribute into the development of professional skills in SOS youngsters needed for their independence and on the other, organisation makes a big contribution into the development of the local community.
It's very gratifying and prideful that our organisation is constantly doing new steps for involving and helping more and more children in the scope of various new projects and programmes. Family Strengthening and Prevention of Child Abandonment programme as a vivid example, is spreading its firm branches and demonstrating its effective and fruitful continuation in more districts of Yerevan and in more parts of Armenia. We help the children in need stay in their biological family focusing our work on strengthening the families.
Another fact that must surely be highlighted in our report in September 2009 the construction of the second Children’s Village in Idjevan, one of the wonderful and green places in Armenia, will be finished, and in 2010 opening its doors, will become a safe shelter for a lot of children.
Last but not least, as usual for this period organisation of summer holidays for our dear children and youngsters is under way about which you will be reported on their holiday experience in detail in our-end-of-year report.
We greatly hope are pleased with the information and developments that took place in our Village during last 6 months. We hope that you will continue to sponsor our Village and witness how children grow up and turn into independent happy persons only thanks to your generosity and kind will. Helping children in need is the responsibility of all the people.
Your generous contribution helps us make our vision a reality, enables us to provide children with hope and opportunity for a better tomorrow. Together we can let the children know that they are not forgotten and they are still in our hearts. On behalf of all the children and the whole SOS organisation we would like to express our gratitude for your help and support. Let us hope our dream shall come true and that prosperity, peace and well being for all children in the world shall gradually become a reality.
With trust and faith we hope for your long - term support.
And may God continue to bless you for your good job. From the bottom of my heart I wish you a life in peace and harmony, with brotherly love and compassion in the SOS children’s village.