Dear Friends and Sponsors,
As the end of the year is quickly approaching, I would like to thank you for yet another great year together! It has been filled with lots of work, with joyful moments and with challenges as well, and I would like to thank you for being with us and supporting us throughout it! Also, I would like to tell you shortly how life at Islice SOS village has been this year.
56 children live at Islice Village now, and 5 of them have arrived just this year. All of them for some reason have lost care of their own parents, and the village is a new chance for them to have a home and a loving family. The most important thing for children is stability. They need to know that their family will always be there for them. Some of them have had bad experiences in the past, and they are scared that it might repeat. Yet a new family surrounds them with love and care, and gradually they learn that they deserve to be loved. They are happy to return home after school or nursery where their mom is waiting for them, and there is a good meal and a warm bed – such very simple things that unfortunately lots of children in the world are missing.
There are 11 preschool children at the village now, and the smallest kids are just 3 years old. Especially the little ones almost instantly get very attached to their SOS moms. All the children live at 12 SOS families, and almost all 12 SOS mothers take care of 5 to 6 children each. 3 elder girls, who have reached age of 16 and finished their primary education, have moved to the Youth Facility this summer. Now they continue their studies, attend a secondary school or receive their vocational training too. A profession of a cook seems to be very popular among our youths, and one of the girls has chosen to become a pastry cook. When it comes to choice of a profession, our pedagogues try to help youngsters with advice and encouragement, and help to consider all the pros and cons of the choice they are about to make.
Each child at the village has a personal development plan, which is based on each child’s individuality. The philosophy of the village is to keep each child busy and give a chance to learn new things as much as possible. Every child has been born with some natural talents. Maybe they still have to be discovered, but we want to encourage and teach them that everything is possible, if only they make up their mind as what they would like to do and to be, and then work hard enough to achieve it. We suggest different activities to let them try new things and help to heal their insecurities.
As always, towards the end of the year lots of joyful activities are taking place. A very special occasion was an opera performance that took place in Islice village in the end of November. It was a puppet opera “Pinocchio”, and the Latvian National Opera artists arrived right at the village! They performed in the hall of the SOS nursery, and both SOS children and kids from the surrounding neighborhood who also attend the nursery were among spectators. The artists had fantastic costumes, and it was just incredible to see them so close, and maybe even touch! Children could recognize the characters of the well-known story about the wooden boy Pinocchio – there was the girl Malvini and Pierrot, the Fox and the Tomcat. Some smallest children got quite scared when the evil Karabass-Barabass came on the stage and his loud and powerful voice filled the rather small nursery hall.
I hope, you will like the photo that I am attaching with lots of smiling and happy faces – they all are children and youths from SOS Village in Islice. I am sure that I will be able to come to you with lots of good news again in the New Year!
May the New Year bring you lots of joy and happiness! With warm greetings and wishing you all the best in 2010,