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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Lefkosa, Cyprus

Sponsored children from Lefkosa
Sponsored children from Lefkosa

A child sponsorship report from Lefkosa in Cyprus. Written in 2009.

Dear Child Sponsors,

We are excited to meet you once again for those of you whom your hearts twitter for SOS children from different places of the world and share the news, SOS facilities and the new developments concerning our children with you. I would like to start with my thanks to you for all your valuable contribution to our children living under the roof of SOS Children’s Village-North Cyprus.

This year, we supported and took care of 356 children within SOS Children Village Programs. We supported 73 children in SOS Children Village, 35 youngsters in SOS Youth Facilities, 96 children in SOS Nursery and 152 children and families in Family Strengthening Program. This year also, 7 children have been admitted to the SOS Children’s Village and 2 children have reintegrated to their biological families and 3 adolescents were transferred to the Youth Facility in July. We are taking care of 67 children in 12 Family Houses at the moment.

In the SOS Children’s Village, 6 family houses were altered and painted in July and August. We also repaired and renewed the wardrobes and desks in 11 family houses in October in order to provide more cozy homes for our children. We also set up a modern irrigation system in order to keep play areas of the children ever green.

67 children in our SOS Children’s Village are carrying on their education in day care centers, nurseries, primary, secondary and high schools according to their ages. 6 of these children also supported with a special education. Furthermore, we continue to train children in one to one and group programs. In addition to these, vocational orientation tests were taken by the children who would finalize secondary school in order to divide them into their appropriate levels according to the results they got from the tests. 3 children also got academic distinction from their schools due to their grade point average.

Another field for the development of our children is social activities. Those activities that have been determined according to the children’s skills and interests have made them participate in different social groups. The activities have continued in 17 different fields. They could be classified under the main headings such as sport activities, theatre, dance, ceramics and folklore reflecting our own culture. The activities that are being carried on in the SOS Children’s Village are Scouting Club and Workshops. In this year, 10 scouts from our Club attended to the international camp in Izmir – Turkey and they made a lot of new friends and participated in various activities. On the other hand, workshop activities have been continued under the headings of jewellery design, carving and polymer clay works. We also made our children and their mothers and aunts from 12 family houses have 5 days summer holiday in order to for getting relax and get motivated. It took place at a seaside resort which sponsored us by giving us 40 % discount.

8 adolescents from our Youth Facility have started university education (3 of them are in Turkey) by passing the necessary exams. The total numbers of our university students have increased to 13. In addition, one of our adolescents took the first place, another took the second place in his/her classes and one took the third place in their school. One of our adolescents graduated from university (sport department).

Some developments concerning our adolescents made us happy during this year. Some of those developments are as following: 2 of our adolescents have started to work for the first time in their lives and one of them has become a personnel member of SOS this has been a first in SOS Northern Cyprus. Her name is Ülkü and she was taken to the SOS Children’s Village when she was 8 years old and now Ülkü is 22 and has started to work at SOS Nursery School as an educator. She is still studying at the Child Development Department of the university as a senior student and teaching 2-3 age groups at the nursery school as well. This is a very important development for us and we are proud of daughter. Yesterday Ülkü was a little girl for us and today she has become our colleague. On the other hand, girls who completed SOS programs and have independent lives gave birth to their second children. Our adolescents have also started some studies concerning social responsibility. Our youngsters established “Social Sensitivity Club” and did some activities related to the environment and elderly people. For instance, the beaches, where Caretta turtles lay, were cleaned. Then activity was organized at Elderly People’s Home and these people were invited to the Youth Facility to eat together and have good time.

Various donations were taken for different activities and needs. The most important one is that we had an income from the campaign we had in Ramadan that is the holy month for Muslims. That income made us meet 6 months fruit need and 10 months milk need of the SOS Children’s Village and the SOS Youth Facilities.
We also had a lot of studies in the field of ‘Child Rights’ in this year.  ‘Common Understanding Text’ was signed on 20th November that is Child Rights Day by the members of ‘Child Rights Platform’ formed by the contribution of 7 non-governmental organizations last year. Another study is that “Child Rights Situation Analysis” research was done to determine the awareness of child rights, prevalence of the violations, the rate of the children who carry the risk of losing family care and the reasons for that.

Finally, I would like to share the article of one of our child from SOS Northern Cyprus who won the university entrance exam this year with his hard working efforts. This article was also printed in the journal prepared for our local sponsors.

I am Özgür,
I started to live with my brother at SOS Children’s Village since 2001. I was a little boy when I started to understand the positive impact of education in my life. I think that I have to study hard in order to be a successful individual. I was in Nicosia Turkish High School and in Form 11 I took the second place in my class. And in Form 12 I took the first place in my class and graduated as head of the school in 2009. This year I passed university entrance exam and started to study at Contemporary Greek Language and Literature Department at Ankara University in Turkey. Now I am in Ankara. I am going to my school, dealing with my lessons and most importantly I am studying hard to be successful. When I was in high school, I was working in a café in Girne (a city near the coast) on summer holidays so I have improved my English. Now I speak very good English. As I was susceptible to learn and speak foreign languages, my counselor at SOS Youth Facility and my teachers at my school directed me to study a foreign language. As a result I won Greek Language and Literature Department. I want to be a good teacher or successful translator in the future. I am sure that, SOS Children’s Village had important positive impacts in my life. I have learned to trust myself and share life there. I got all the support to become successful. For example, I went to private lessons for 2 years and that helped me very much. I have had a lot of hobbies in my life such as playing football and I also like playing chess. After living together with my SOS mother and SOS siblings in the Children’s Village, I started to stay in Youth House when I was 16. I have never felt alone and hopeless after I started to live under the roof of SOS. I would like to find a good job when I finish my school and turn back to my country. In addition I believe that with the help of my family at the SOS Children’s Village and Youth House, I will conduct my life better. And I will start to help for the other needy children.   

I am very pleased to find the opportunity to share what we have done in 2009 with you. Your support is very important to make our children ready for a hopeful future. I would like to thank you once again for your valuable supports to reestablish the lives of the children who lost family care and make them cling to life. On behalf of the SOS Children’s Village children’s and youngster’s I would like to celebrate your new year and wish you a happy and healthy life.

I am sure God has many blessings in store
for you this new year...
And I hope they last for a lifetime!
Yours sincerely,

Berna Azkal
National Sponsorship Co-ordinator