Dear child sponsor,
It is our pride to celebrate the 60 years’ anniversary for the founding of SOS Children, together with those living and working in the other 499 SOS villages, and millions of SOS friends who are supporting us around the world. On June 23, the Day of SOS Children, we shared with our children and youngsters the latest development of the global SOS cause.
The first half of the year 2009 is a difficult one for the whole world, maybe especially for some of the European countries, where most of our sponsors live. The financial crisis caused terrible damages to the economy of these courtiers, but most of our sponsors still keep supporting SOS villages even under such a situation. Many of our elder children care about the situation, and they want me to send you their heartfelt thanks and great hope for you to walk out of the difficult time, if there is.
There were some changes taken place in our SOS Village. Mr. Cao, the Village Director from the very beginning, was retired in April. Mr HE Sheng, a 50 years old gentleman from another civil affairs department, came to take the position. During these 3 months, he is integrating into the village. Another personnel change, Mr. Yang, your old friend, the guy who wrote letters to you during the past 4 years, is going to quit the job for some personal reasons. He asks me to say thanks to each of you, for your kind support and pleasant communication with you during the years. Then, I, Mr. XIA Linhua, will have the chance to write you again, after 4 years. I will do it for some time, till someone is recruited to take my place. I will enjoy the chance. The years from 1998 to 2005, when I was doing the Sponsorship Correspondence, were unforgettable for me.
Now, there are 160 children and youngsters in the village. Among them, 19 are in the SOS nursery, 52 are in the primary schools, 23 are in junior high schools, 49 are in high schools and vocational schools, 18 youngsters are in college schools. Till now, 30 SOS adults started their own life in the society. They are keeping quite close contacts with the village, like with the family, the SOS mother or brothers and sisters, but the financial support has been definitely cut off. Most of them are living quite a healthy life, and this is the most important part of our pride.
As the elders leave the village, more new babies came to join us. In recent years, as the development of welfare causes, many difficult children can get proper help at their place. Then, our new kids are mostly from the mountain areas. Some of them speak totally different language, and some of them don’t have any idea of the modern city life. But the young kids can always win the hearts of the adults, especially the mother. With the join of the youngest ones, surely the SOS mothers will get much busier, at the same time they seem much happier also.
The summer holiday is coming. We are planning activities for our kids, like sports, cultural trainings, visits, social practice and etc.. Especially, nearly half of our kids are over the age of 14. It is quite urgent for us to guide them get to know the social life. In the coming 3 years, each year, about 20 youngsters will walk into the society. To find a proper job is the key point for their integration. So this summer, we are going to held some lectures and trainings about employment. After that, most of the youngsters will do some real work in the factories, department stores, restaurants, or any other place they can find.
These days, some of the youngsters were experiencing their most important test in their life, the Entrance Examination for Colleges and the one for high schools. Those who attend the high school exam did a very good job. But those for colleges did not do well as we expected. We cheered them up by encouraging them to make clear each of their own value of life. Once they find out what are the important things for the life, they would not be so lost for the setback at one time. We believe that when they go to college in September they can be happy to find their way to go.
During the half of the year, we complete the repair works for the earthquake damages. The cracks on the road and wall disappeared. The nice village helps all the kids to forget the terrible shakes happened last year. Recently, less and less aftershocks could be sensed, maybe once in 2 or 3 months. Till now, only 2 kids from the disaster area came to our village. We tried to make them feel no difference with any other children in the village. Actually, quite a few NGOs, people with good heart, and reporters came to the village for the earthquake related actions. We thank them for the care, but it is the same important for us to keep the village just as a normal home for our kids.
The main body of the Mothers’ Retirement House has been complete at the end of June. We came across some difficulties while carrying out the project. Fortunately, with the common efforts of all parties, we overcame those difficulties at last.
In April, all the Sponsorship Secretaries and responsible assistant village directors came to attend the Sponsorship Seminar in our Village. It is our honor to have the Director of the International Sponsorship Office and the regional responsible coworker join with us. They guided us to get familiar with the latest development and new requirement of the International Sponsorship. We are confident that the Sponsorship Service work will be improved after the training. At least, I will try my best.
With best wishes and regards,
XIA Linhua HE Sheng
Assistant Director Village Director