Dear Child Sponsors,
2009 is saying bye and we can sense the approach of Christmas in our mist. The jingles bells have started ringing welcoming Christmas in our beloved country and our SOS Village as well. The children have started rehearsing getting ready to sing the carols to their many friends. What a wonderful year to go bye so quickly as a lot of challenges were met but we were able to go by thanks to the support of our valuable sponsors who were all out to see that we over come them. This year has been characterised by the global economic and financial crisis for which SOS Children’s’ Village Basse was not an exception. Regardless of this, SOS was able to continue in its implementation of its existing programmes with set standards to pass through this unpopular era. Our country The Gambia experienced a heavy downpour of rain which caused many damages but thanks to the intervention of the disaster management team of the regions who rendered assistances to the affected families. With our dedicated and self-motivated staff a lot activities were undertaken in our village follow through as we give you a run down as they unfold.
The Village is home to 83 registered children who have adapted to the village environment and greatly improved on their social ethics, academic performances and physical status. Out of this number 20 girls and 18 boys are enrolled at the SOS Nursery whiles 11 girls and 40 boys are at the SOS Lower & Upper Basic School. We continue to have our monthly stress management activities for children and mothers which have really made an impact in the village. Here everybody comes out as one big family into the palaver hut and we dine together. Our periodic counselling sessions with the children is a continuous process and he children and mothers are gaining a lot from it as can be manifested in the children. One of our children who had been experiencing some ailment have successfully undergone an orchiopexy operations at the RVTH and is doing very fine and back with us in the village full of life. The first three babies to be admitted (2girls and 1 boy) are 2 years and are enrolled At the nursery. The first day of their school was as emotional because it brought back the memories of when they were first received. It was also the first of confidence and a tangible measure of success.
June 23rd was celebrated in grand style and everybody participated and children with good academic results were given presents as a form of motivation. A 15days summer camp was convened at Bwaim in the Western Region of The Gambia
. It was a joint camping with their sister village of SOS Children’s Village Bakoteh. They were accompanied by the two village directors, the village nurse of SOS Children’s Village Bakoteh and the Social Worker of SOS Children’s Village Basse. This is part of exposing them out of the four walls of SOS. The village embarked on farming and this time around cultivated the “Nerica” rice within the village. They have also answered to the Presidents call of back to the land and can happily boost of a very good harvest of rice. All the village participated as they also have their backyard gardens were a variety of vegetables’ are grown and this supplements to their daily balance diet. The feast of Muslim feast of “Koriteh” otherwise known as Eid al Fitr, “Tobaski” or better known as Eid al Adha and Christmas were all celebrated together in the village amongst merriment with dancing.
Performance appraisal and evaluation for staff and review of individual work plan was conducted. It was a fruitful exercise as staff are now better equipped to take up the challenge. The selection of a new mother speaker was conducted in the village and mothers and aunties were the centre of it all as they choose their representative. The National Education and Training Adviser conducted a five days evaluation of mothers and aunties in the village and to work with them on the SOS Children’s Village Manual which was very successful. A training workshop on accident and accident management for facility staff was conducted and all the staff benefitted from it. It is an eye opener for all in case of emergency. The National Sponsorship Coordinator accompanied by the National Administrative Secretary facilitated a workshop on sponsorship matters. This is to better equipt all co-workers about what sponsorship is all about and after which follow-up training session was conducted by the RSC and NSC to boost their understanding.
The Director of Regional Mother Adult Training Centre visited to evaluate our mothers and aunties on their job aspect as a follow up to their training received from the centre and to see their level of implementation. Monthly cleansing exercise by the schools care continuing and termly PTA meetings are held to discuss with parents about the affairs of the school and how to forge ahead.
The Director of Social Welfare with some American friends visited the facility and followed by the visit of the Minister of Interior, Chairperson and Acting Director of NGO Affairs Agency (they are the board responsible for all NGO’s in The Gambia) with the Chief Matron of Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital on a familiarisation tour of our village. They were much impressed and commended the staff for a job well done.
SOS Lower & Upper Basic Schools has a roll call of 209 pupils and in its strive for excellence carried out a series of workshops to boost the schools academic performance. The administration and staff worked hard to see that what they learnt is implemented. During the academic year series of examinations and tests were conducted thus prompting them to promote 30 pupils to grade 2 and 5 failed thus recommending that 3 of them be redeployed to the nursery for a period of one year to build on the foundation after a proper diagnosed of their weaknesses. Thus having the average of 85% pass and 15% failure. 94% pass and 6% failure was registered in grade 2. Only two pupils failed and are presently are presently repeating to prepare them more as Grade 3 is an examination class which is the National Assessment Test. More home works, extra classes, and accessibility to library materials to enhance their reading skills which proved to be a weakness on their side and could be used as a remedial tool. In Grade 3, 79% passed and 21% failures registered. Poor foundation had been the hall mark of this class which is envisage in their performances.
Jarrie is 14 months old. She was born in a family of four three of whom died before their first birthday. The cause of their death is associated to the lack of milk from their mother to breast feed them and inadequate food supplement due to the low income of her parents. There are almost two generations between her father and mother. Through the assistance of SOS Children’s Village Basse, aid was given when she was only 3 months old. One year since SOS CV Basse took charge of her feeding, Jarrie has improved tremendously both in health and growth. The first supply was delivered to her parents when she was admitted at the Basse Health Centre having been diagnosed as under-nourishment.
Today, Jarrie is a happy toddler who roams the compound doing her own chores and tries to speak her own language which is only understandable to herself alone. She is a jovial little girl who is very much approachable and friendly. The Sabally family are so much grateful to SOS as without their intervention for they have not just saved a life for they cannot tell what would have become of little Jarrie had they not stepped in.
On behalf of the Management team of SOS Children’s Villages The Gambia we thank you profoundly for your benevolent and noble gesture. We wish you a brighter 2010 and hope that all our dreams come to reality. MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY & PROGRESSIVE 2010 in advance.
SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGES THE GAMBIA TRUST
Mrs. Mariama Bayo Sidibeh
National Sponsorship Coordinator