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Child Sponsorship Report 2009 from Rionegro, Colombia

SOS family from Rionegro, Colombia
SOS family from Rionegro, Colombia

A child sponsorship report from the Childrens' Village Rionegro, in Colombia

Dear friends and child sponsors,

Receive warm greetings on behalf of the SOS Children’s programmes in Antioquia and Chocó: The family-based child care programme and both of the family strengthening programmes San Antonio in Medellín and the Social Centre Quibdó in Chocó.  We express to you our sincere feeling of gratefulness for the lasting and generous support you have done to many girls, boys, and youth in our country. Thanks for your help, your friends and families’ help our organisation is growing up in number of programmes as quality of service in Colombia since 38 years ago as well as in the world-wide 60 years ago.

Day of the Child in Colombia, 25th March

This day is a wonderful day when girls and boys are together in the football field of a small district in Rionegro, Antioquia. Here they are enjoying a clowns and jugglers’ show to celebrate the day of the child;  everyone was expectant  appreciating the variety show of two worlds: The real and fantasy world, that children are used to mix. There was the Pin Pin clown showing his talent for acrobatics and aerobatics making children and grown up people guffaw a lot during the performance. Also was present the man who was hurling himself through the dangerous fire arch. Meanwhile they were seeing the performance, girls and boys were enjoying too a delicious ice-cream.  At the sunset girls, boys, youths and all families shared a nice afternoon with all their families over the warmth of a barbecue meat. Then all children were the stars dancing, doing amazing dancing figures as Idier Alexis did, a show of break dance. He was fantastic!

To Meet Again with his Biological Family

José being a baby, the youngest of five siblings lost his mother and he was living in risk condition until his father found a place for him. This place was a religious institution in Chocó (Colombian Pacific Coast) where  was not usual to receive babies, but the nuns did an exception accepting José there. It was the family of José till he was four years old, the age when he was reported to the SOS Children Rionegro, very far from Chocó.  Since then till nowadays when José is a teenager, he was in contact no more with his father, siblings and rest of the family.  José had many question about his past life that nobody could answer, so, considering his superior interest, José’s SOS mother started to ask about his biological family talking by telephone with some nuns of the same place who help her to find José’s father. The great news was given to José and it was so exciting for him to know that his father was alive.  He traveled by bus almost a full day to arrive to Andagoya, the town where the child care institution was… being there José was well welcome by the co-workers of the institution and also his baptism godmother, even though did not  recognized them,  he was a little child when was there.  Fortunately, he felt very well in this place and wanted to spend some days making new friends.
After three days, José left the town and went together the driver of the institution to a little district called La Playa-Tadó, four hours from Andagoya.  José and the car driver went directly to the address they had got, fortunately there the boy met one of his older siblings but… his father wasn’t… José turned sad but suddenly his brother told him, "don’t worry, let’s go to the park, our papá is waiting for you in the town park ", happiness in José’s face was indescribable! Finally he met his father and spent many days, since December the 24th till January the 4th.  There, he met all his relatives, 9 siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, among others… Time to say ‘bye’ came in and he return to the SOS Children’s Village Rionegro, his family too. If he was a funny and happy boy before this meeting, we can tell you that now he is proud of his roots and culture and he can explain himself many inquires he had.  He has continued his daily life at the SOS family, studying the 8th level of secondary (3 year) and he stands out for his sport skills, especially for football… he would like to be a professional football player playing like winger; anyway, he would like to be a professional in physical education or a veterinarian.

Girls and Boys Innocence…

One day a family was talking in the living room when one of the girls –Laura, says: "aunt, I’m going to loose a tooth!" showing his weak tooth… the director of the programme was there and asked the girl "What’s happen when the tooth falls down telling her about the tradition of putting the tooth under the pillow at time to go to sleep in order the Pérez Mouse comes to give the a gift to the girl or boy because this mouse collects milk teeth and changes them for gifts." Then, one of the girls tells "I have lost my teeth and the Pérez Mouse never has given me a gift…" in sad voice; Laura replies in a smart tone : "aunt, it is possible that Pérez Mouse be on vacations and that’s why he can not give gifts to everyone?"

Ecological Awareness and Environmental Protection

How do we take advantage of the earth and recognize its value?’, ‘How we do not keep clean the green zones’ ‘How do we not save water as a precious resource?’. . . These are inquires that have became popular among the communities and have helped to strengthen a life style that promote ecological practices.
Some families of the community have started actions toward environment protection and to eliminate all those attitudes that could affect the balance nature because they are aware that fate of our planet is our hands.
The SOS Children’s Village community has advanced in the building of an aquifer (a well). Hence and the process of the water treatment, the families have learnt to use water properly; they avoid wasting water.
The Luz María’s family wanted to have the responsibility of the vegetable kitchen this year in order to make it fruitful for them. For that reason is common to see one girl or boy from this family weeding out everyday, clearing land, wetting and especial days all of them are planting and doing similar tasks.  The ecological group has been a promoter of the environment protection, carrying out motivation activities, proper use of residues campaigns, making compost as a way to change, without chemicals, the organic garbage to make fertilizer; a group of youth leader the recycling within the community and sell what is collected to invest in family projects. For example, a family has a chickens’ breeding to sell and they reuse the chicken’s hez to make fertilizer.
All the families are responsible with environment, cleaning their gardens and using organic fertilizer.
Having a pet, caring of it, breeding it, changing water….or taking care of a plant or a tree, are opportunities to educate girls and boys to be sensible toward environment and toward human being –this is a our shortage as adults. It means that we are promoting an ecological awareness in girls and boys to look for a better future.

Welcome of New Children

The expectative is big, it is said that children from the ICBF are coming to the SOS Children’s Village Rionegro and many questions have came out: "what is the difference between the children from ICBF and the children who are welcome in our community?", we do not know the answer yet, it maybe will be found through the road.
Well, we started visiting a group of siblings in a high risk district in Medellín… they were admired with our presence, they were confused and wanted to know who were and what we are going to give them…"Are there a mom? Who is she? What her name?, Are there games and park to play?, Can we run away if we get bored?"  Those were the question among others.
What do you think of those reactions? Maybe the same that we thought and saw, those children were just children like others that we have welcomed: Spontaneous, cute, sweet, mischievous sometime, and with tremendous wish to come to live in the SOS Children’s Village where the rights of the girls and boys are our priority.
Today, we realize that childhood differences do not exist, the differences are circumstances and conditions…; therefore, we must fulfill our mission being courageous to give hopeness to a girl and boy who need to grow up in a protector family environment to achieve their dreams wherever they come from; we know they are going to build their future at our side where affection and the best protection are their best stakeholder.
We hope the above information could give you an idea of our daily work in the SOS Children’s Village Programmes which believes that child development is best realized within a caring family environment. Thanks for your help we are able to get our vision: Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.

Your contribution is important to helps 829 girls, boys, teenagers and youths enjoy a family in six family-based care programmes and 3.098 children with their families being supported through the 16 family strengthening programmes that prevent children’s abandonment increasing in Colombia.

Let’s celebrate the SOS Children 60th anniversary with you!

Kind regards,
Claudia María Restrepo & Pedagogical Team   Emilce Peñón Esquivel
Director  Sponsorship co-ordinator/Edition&translation
Aldea Infantil SOS Rionegro