Update report for sponsors from Winter 2009
It is time for the facility report that you are certainly waiting for; I am pleased to report to you the major developments that took place in the SOS Children's Village Amman during the past six months. As well, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on the children's appreciation for supporting them and helping them to have a happy childhood.
I would like to start this report by addressing the recent changes made on our postal communication between ourselves; as to further serve you as an SOS friend and due to the lack of communication resulted from inappropriate mail services, we decided at the beginning of this summer to adopt the registered mail tool in order to guarantee safe and fast delivery for our mail. However, this tool fulfilled its purpose but at the same time did not meet with the satisfaction of many; owing to the trouble of being present at the post office to receive the mail. Hence we found it necessary to reconsider the registered mail tool and to adopt the ordinary mail again taking into consideration the huge number of displeased sponsors. Nevertheless, we would like to emphasis the great efforts made by our mail courier to guarantee departing our mail from Jordan and kindly ask you to consider the external factors, which lie out of our control that might cause losing the mail on the way to your country.
As for the progress on the SOS facilities in Amman city, it was like follows:
- The SOS Children’s Village Amman
The number of children living at the village differed since the beginning of the year 2009 up to this moment; as five new children were brought in from different orphanages while another five transferred to the SOS youth house and more three returned to live with their biological families. Consequently the total current number for children at the village is 92 children living under the care of 12 mothers; 77 go to schools, 10 attend the SOS Nursery School, only four go to centres for special challenges and the one left is below the nursery school stage.
This year the general performance of the children at school remarkably improved due to engaging the services of private tutors, who helped out the children overcome the difficulties they encountered in their school curriculum especially in English and Math subjects.
Usually life goes on smoothly at the village; as the children go out to schools and practise their normal life until they are well prepared to move to the youth houses at the age of 14. But this was not the case for Abdel-Rahman! His story starts from his early childhood as he was not able to stay with his biological family due to the divorce of his mother, which in turn abandoned him and married to another. At the same time, it was hard for Abdel-Rahman to grow up as a slow learner when it is hard enough for normal children to go through their childhood trying to build up a strong personality and popularity among others.
Fortunately Abdel-Rahman joined the village since he was eight years old and was trained on all the essential life skills, enhanced his communication skills with other children and improved his character in general in collaboration with the Social Worker and Mama Fatenah, who gave him their greatest attention and love.
The separation and transition process is traumatic for normal youth if not handled sympathetically and in the right way. Therefore, his graduation postponed until he could be at the required level for graduation. The Association was keen to ensure a smooth transition for him as well as meeting his emotional and educational needs. Unfortunately, he faced a tragic death of his father and brother at the same time, this led to reside him at a hospital for psychiatric treatment for a long time until he totally recovered. No one could expect that Abdel-Rahman would be able within two years to overcome the crisis and was ready to graduate to the youth house at the age of seventeen.
From that day on, Abdel-Rahman's confidence and self esteem took a different turn. Today you no longer see a quiet child with a faded smile on his face. Instead you see a confident young man that has found his way in the world and just made his first step in a hopefully very successful life ahead of him.
In terms of cultivating the children’s skills during summer holiday and spare times the village organised many activities and programmes with the support of international/local charitable entities and volunteers. On top of the summer activities was the Caritas Peace Camp, which calls for fraternal values among children from different backgrounds and religions. The camp took place last summer in Lebanon and lasted for twenty days, wherein the participants (100 children) were able to earn new friendships and to know more about cultures.
Additionally, last summer the village formed a Robotex team in cooperation with the Educational Centre for Robot. Robotex is a project that popularizes engineering sciences and it is mostly addressed to young people. The main motivator of this project is the will to raise interest in young people in technology education. As a result of conducting this project the children earned the experience of interplaying with this human-made creativity and made their first steps to participate in the competition of using Robot for playing dynamic games, which is expected to take place next February with the participation of the smartest children all over the kingdom level.
Last but not least was the Hussein Youth Camp that was carried out under the leadership of the General Directorate of Gendarmes Forces. Within this activity, the children received martial practices that included fitness, self-defence, handcrafting and awareness sessions in addition to field trips to experience the training materials on the ground. Other than the new skills earned as a result of this programme, the children enhanced their sense of responsibility towards their country and gained new knowledge about the demands of the Jordan labour market.
Hosting so many significant guests, who presented their moral and financial priceless support, also cheered up the children. We mention in particular the visit of the Oscar winner and Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and her Husband, the Hollywood star, Brad Pitt. The couple visited the village to check on a family house that they sponsored in 2003 and showed appreciation for the efforts that the SOS family make for the sake of the children.
- The SOS Youth Houses Amman and the former SOS youth
There are currently 15 youth living in three SOS youth houses after five children transferred from the village and 16 left the youth houses to start their semi independent life. The resident youth are of the age range 14 to 18 and they all receive education at schools.
This schooling year for the youth was crowned by the success of two male graduates passing their General Secondary Examinations (the final stage at school). In the support of a local non-governmental organisation that cares for Jordanian orphans, Al Aman Fund, those two joined public and private universities under Business Management and Computer Information Systems majors, which are highly demanded at the Jordan labour market. As for the female graduates, they signed up in intensive training programmes like nursing, secretary and cosmetology subsidised by Al Aman fund too.
Yet, this was not the only joy source for our youth; as the village celebrated the marriage of an SOS couple and another former young lady, who was married to a gentleman from the local community.
- The SOS Children’s Village Nursery School Amman
This year there were 123 seats taken at the nursery school (10 for SOS children and 113 for children from the outside community). This year the demand of getting education from the nurserey school increased due to the high quality of educational services that it presents for its students; as the nursery school constantly works on developing its curriculum's in a way that helps preparing the children for entering the primary stage at school smoothly. In order to achieve this goal the nursery school adopted tangible educational aids besides interesting tools and games, which catch the attention of the students and develop their mental capacities at the same time. Moreover, this year the management of the nursery school developed a 30-minute educational programme of which takes into consideration the individual differences among the students on daily basis and aims at better focusing on their weaknesses points.
To enhance the SOS children’s capability of integrating with the local community the nursery school celebrated many national, social and religious occasions in the presence of SOS neighbours, friends and guests in the course of the year. As well, the Nursery School staff organised creative activities based on the current season/occasion, such as olive pickling, planting, pilgrimage and many more. On top of everything was the summer club wherein the children reflects their utmost interaction with the surrounding environment; the club does not only fill the children’s spare time, it also creates ways to release the children’s energy during summer holiday.
Customarily the nursery school celebrated the graduation of its 23rd regiment last June. The ceremony included many songs and shows conducted by the graduates. During the performances the children reflected some of the skills that they learnt all through the last year at the nursery school and they received gifts and certificates at the end of the ceremony.
At the end of this report I invite you to join our global campaign, SOS! Childhood, which was launched on the occasion of the SOS Children's Villages 60th anniversary. By visiting the campaign website you contribute to creating awareness that a safe and happy childhood is at risk. Sign up at www.soschildhood.org and save thousands of childhoods out there!
Thank you for your support. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Hussam Abu Jo’ob