We’re pleased to be in contact with you with all our affection, the sincere smile and the tender and healing hug of our boys, girls and adolescents. This year has been full of big changes, movements and transformations; we started with 93 children: 40 boys and 53 girls; in these months, we’ve welcomed in our village 14 new children: Lupita, a precious and nice girl aged 2, Katrina a baby who is just 15 days old, the two siblings Anggelo and Thiago; a group of four siblings Marlon, Anderson, Arely and María and 6 siblings of different ages: Magaly, Franklin, José, Manuel, Luz and Narcisa were welcomed in the village in coordination with the children’s protection authorities. Absolutely all of them are fine, stabilized; they receive medical care and are strengthening their adaptation processes.
Seven of these children came from the foster home ‘Loreto’ and alter having proved the abandonment and lack of relatives, the Children’s Judge determined the lawfulness of their reception in the village. Katrina was welcomed after her abandonment and the six-sibling-group were rescued by the state due to the severe risk these kids were exposed to, for their parents’ lack of care. The authorities brought us up to welcome them and we immediately proceeded to care them, because it’s a priority for us children’s protection.
The school year ended and for us has been a great happiness to achieve that from all our students (in the village and in youth facilities) just 5 failed; now we’re focusing our attention to improve children and youth’ academically performance. It’s our wish that studies can be for our kids a very important thing, something needed and valued. Just to reach that, in September we organized a party, to reward the boys and girls that obtained the best grades in the last school year.
Right now, there are 19 youth in our SOS Youth Facilities. All of them are studying and working in cars repair shops, carpentries, household work and office assistance. Pina and Cecilia are in the university and they are studying Hotel Management and Tourism; in the SOS Male Facility we are proud to remark Daniel’s performance at school. He was honoured to be first escort of the National flag, as a reward for his excellent grades, at the same time, his brother Juan Carlos, obtained his high school diploma in Social Sciences.
Right now, we are giving special attention to 10 youth that after having being part of the youth facilities are now starting the counselling stage. We are strengthening them in labour issues and complement their knowledge with classes and additional studies. At the same time, we eagerly continue the work with the group of teenagers in the village, which prepares them to join the SOS Youth Facilities, next year.
At the end of school period, between December and January, we have every year, about 3 months of vacation. Two years ago, that time is an opportunity to carry out two very important activities: to have our SOS Families organized individually or in groups, to travel to different tourist places. The second reason is to enable and coordinate the contact of our children with their biological relatives. They carry our visits which last a month. During that time we work to strength relationships with the biological family, to extend kids’ familiar, cultural and physical environment.
Just like every year, about 25 pre-adolescents are already part of the Youth program of the village which is a space to carry out workshops and training about principles, human values, sexual education and life’s tips, development of skills and craft workshops, there were also trips, journeys and visits to different institutions and organizations. This year we have with us a volunteer from ‘Peace Corps’ who is supporting us with different activities such as clubs, cinema forum and other topics that youth like.
Soon, Tatiana will finish her university studies in Hotel Management and Tourism and María Jesús is already on 5th. semester of Accounting and Auditing; they just like a dozen youth are being supported with scholarships for their studies, while they consolidate their independent life.
In our last report we told you about the creation in our village of a youth’s room; now it’s already equipped and it has 3 areas: one for meetings and workshops; another space for a library full of education books and literature and the other with a small computer centre with two computers with internet connection (for school tasks); this space is also used to store music instruments because it’s also the room for the music classes.
In the same topic, we’re glad to tell you that it’s already composed a new group of children that are developing their artistic skills through the sing and dance and instruments interpretation, such as marimba, guitar, keyboard and flute.
The happiness of social, cultural and sport events is part of the daily life of the village. As every year, we’ve carried out traditional celebrations and we’re ready to celebrate the ‘SOS Family party’ in our 31st anniversary on November 15th.
We’ve made a complete improvement in our village this year. We’ve renovated the family houses, so that they can be comfortable and cosy environments for the children and their mothers. We’ve also restored the village playground because the games were damaged and we’ve solved one of the most serious problems we had for years with the installation of a permanent drinking water system for the village.
In training and staff formation it has been written a special chapter this year with the graduation of three SOS mom of our village. Célida, Danny and Alexandra, received their diplomas as SOS Mothers and the organization carried out a national homage in honour of them, for this achievement.
Without a doubt, this year has been very special for the daily care centres we have to prevent children’s abandonment. We still have 2 community centres: one takes care or 150 children and the other –which last year started with 40 approximately- now gives attention to 70 boys and girls. This year we managed to have direct participation of the community in these centres, through intensive training to family committees and community mothers. Now the mothers and fathers of the children take care of them and manage these centres with our advice, support, coordination and accompaniment.
It’s really nice to tell you about the results and advances we are having, this way you can know how your support is being used. We send you a strong hug full of colours, happiness and delivered with the strength and tenderness of the hundred and hundred of boys, girls and adolescents who with their happy growing and development, cheer us up and encourage us to continue struggling for their cause.
Raúl Aráuz Osorio
SOS Programs Esmeraldas Director