2009 is reaching the end – a year full of big events of commemorations at the SOS Children level. On one hand the 25th anniversary of SOS Children’s Villages Cape Verde and on the other hand the 60th anniversary of SOS Children’s Villages around the world. Thank you for believe, support and motivate us to work on the behalf of this great cause!
In these last two and a half decades the balance of the work done in Cape Verde has been very positive and our sphere of action has increased; we have been implementing family strengthening programmes in order to maintain children in their own family environment and prevent child abandonment in the communities where our two SOS Children’s Villages are located, Assomada and São Domingos. Our two latest facilities and programmes are the community centre of intervention in one of main problematic residential quarters of Praia, the capital and the SOS Social Centre in Mindelo, São Vicente Island. In each of the above mentioned several activities were carried out and we kindly invite you to learn some of them:
SOS Children’s Village Assomada proceeds on its activities journey
The SOS Children’s Village Assomada counts at the moment 98 children since 4 youth were departed (83 children and youth are active in the facility and 15 male adolescents are active out of facility) During the year, festivities were celebrated such as Carnival and Easter. For carnival, a parade was organised: around 300 children from various institutions (SOS Nursery School, SOS Children’s Village São Domingos, Assomada juvenile centre and many preschool from Santa Catarina municipalities) participated. The parade vehicle was decorated in scenery representing a huge birthday cake symbolising both anniversaries, the 25th anniversary of SOS Children Cape Verde and of SOS Children’s Village Assomada. The public could appreciate the carnival party creatively organised by SOS Children’s Village Assomada. During the Easter holidays, long walks in the interior of the Island were carried out. SOS children and youths participated and they were guided by the youth educator and leader and the village director. More activities were organised such as SOS cultural gala, summer holiday’s activities, SOS infantile games and the Global Peace Games, both games accomplished at a national level by SOS Children Cape Verde initiative with Education Ministry’s support. For the first one, around 600 children participated and the purpose was to develop the sprit of sport, fair-play and particularly to promote institutions which works with children. In the second one whose goal was to draw people's attention to non-violence, culture of peace and respect to each other, around 20,000 students took part; It was also celebrated the international and African child’s days and the silver anniversary of SOS Children’s Village Assomada and of SOS Children Cape Verde.
For this last referred event, a range of activities were organised including cultural, recreational, sports, workshops on child protection policy, children's games, radio programmes, etc. The programme was launched in SOS Children’s Village Assomada on March 28th by the highest State figure his Excellence, Mr. Pedro Pires, Cape Verde President. During his speech, his Excellence reminded the origin of the SOS Children in the world and the sharing spirit of SOS. He stressed that we are one of the most human solidarity organisation. Mr. Pires agreed that valuable work has been done during these twenty-five years in the country, which hosts and provides a home for vulnerable children as well as training and transmission of human values such as sharing, friendship, and solidarity. Mr. President, who made the necessary arrangements to bring the idea to Cape Verde at the end of 70’s, when he was at that time Prime Minister, was honoured to be President of our commemoration committee of honour.
SOS Youth Facility Thomas da Cruz – Assomada
“Believing in human solidarity…”
Pedro* was resettled a year ago after spending 6 years at Youth facility “Thomas da Cruz” and 9 years at SOS Children’s Village Assomada. He now lives at Nazareth Community in Assomada city in order to prepare to be a Franciscan friar. He discovered his calling for religious life since early age and he has put all efforts in his choice. Pedro has a tremendous faith in human beings and he said that he has an enormous will to return what he received from SOS Children’s Village Cape Verde. So he helps poor and bleak children from Assomada Community as a manager of the Nazareth Community social care programme and he is also available to help SOS Children’s Village Assomada children and youth teaching them religious and moral values. In the past, Capeverdean orphans have traditionally been cared for by relatives who absorb the children into their extended family. Currently, communities like Assomada, families can’t afford to take another child, leaving them alone. Many of these children must fend for themselves, struggling to survive. Pedro said he understands the trauma of losing parents’ care what is most of times compounded with becoming the breadwinner. As evident in these cases, children drop out of school, suffer malnutrition and physical distress. Without education, girls often fall into prostitution and boys fall into a life of crimes. Concluding the conversation, Pedro said he is everything he is because people abroad and locally did not loose the faith in human beings so he just want to teach those unfortunate what he was taught.
SOS Social Centre São Vicente was officially inaugurated
The facility counts with 614 beneficiaries and it is been operating since April 2008. The beneficiary families are supported with educational assistance for their children (material, fees and monitoring), vocational training and job finding skills for the parents and care-givers, as well as food, medical and psychological assistance. It was financed by the cooperation between the Luxembourg government and the SOS Children Luxembourg. The official inauguration was done as well by his Excellency, Mr. Pedro Pires, on April 16th. So, we proudly share with you one of our beneficiary’s witnesses:
“I like to be part of the SOS family”
I like to be part of the SOS family, because I feel that here we are brothers and the SOS Social Centre is like our second home. It is a very good and important home for orphaned and abandoned children as well as needy families. It is a very safe place and it offers great social aid. My brother was a street child who received and had full support from the SOS Social Centre and now he lives back with us. I have another brother who lives in the street, but with the support of the SOS Social Centre, I believe he can return to our family. Me and my family are proud to be part of the SOS family” said firmly Mircea, 9 years old, primary school student in Mindelo, São Vicente.
SOS Family Strengthening Programme Praia is proud of its work
In partnership with the Cape Verdean Solidarity Foundation, a social intervention center aiming to fight the vulnerability of families, particularly in the residential quarter “Brasil”, in Praia, has been carried out and assists 20 families since May 2007. A successful example is described in the following paragraphs:
“Street child becomes best student in Secondary School”
Rodrigo* comes from a risky and needy family and was considered a street child when three years ago he was selected as one of SOS family strengthening programme beneficiary in the “Brasil” quarter. Today after our programme’s assistance, he is a successful 16-year-old adolescent, and the best student of his neighbourhood in Pedro Gomes secondary school. His lower grade is 16 on an evaluation scale from 0 to 20. He is also a very good football player and he intends to become a professional one later on. His mother has 7 children from different fathers. She left her last husband because he was an alcoholic and an aggressive man. They all live with her in a small room divided with a curtain into compartments. Today she sells bread, and is supported by the community centre. Rodrigo’s elder sister is employed and her daughter is also supported by our programme. Rodrigo and his other siblings’ pass most of their time either in school or at centre. After school, Rodrigo has lunch, attends computer class in the centre and plays football in the neighbourhood as any normal and healthy youth.
We end our information sharing, wishing you and your family all the best during the Christmas holidays and a Prosperous year 2010.