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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Arica, Chile

Sponsored child from Arica
Sponsored child from Arica

A child sponsorship report from Arica in Chile. Written in 2009.

Dear Sponsors:

It comes once again the moment, to tell you about different events occurred during the first semester of 2009 in our SOS Children’s Village Arica.

At present, there are 137 children and youngsters in the village distributed in the 14 family houses. During these first months, nine children have been admitted and two have returned to live with their biological families, because their situation has improved and they are able now to take care about their children.

During January and February, families enjoyed actively the summer season and vacation. They went again to summer camps in Azapa Valley and Villa Frontera, places that are near the Village.

Our village was founded 21 years ago in summer. This year, we wanted to celebrate the anniversary in a different way. Therefore we made the first Song festival. Fifteen children and the children orchestra called The Elected participated with their best songs. A boy imitated Daddy Yankee, a famous singer of the Latin American rhythm reggae ton. They captivated and made dance the massive audience. 
The Cultural Corporation of Arica granted three music scholarships to three girls of our community.  Karin, Patricia and Joana, all three 12 years old, got the maximum mark in the audition exam. These girls have sung from several years ago in different events and this is a great opportunity to develop their singing passion under a professional supervision.

All our children and youngsters began their classes in March. Several youngsters study professional careers, such as Risk Prevention, Teaching of English, Kinesiology, Medical Technology and Nursery Teaching. In March, Ricardo got independent after having finished his studies in Gastronomy. Now he is working as a chef in an important restaurant of Arica.

Unfortunately, Arica has the highest unemployment rate in the whole country. In the last time some important companies, for example the branch of General Motors in Chile, closed. This fact decreased job opportunities in the city. At the moment, this does not affect our youngsters because they are still studying. But at the end of the year or during the following ones, they can be also affected by this crisis. 

Some weeks ago, we paid homage and said good bye to our SOS Mother Graciela. After 40 years working for SOS Children’s Villages the moment to get retired came for her. Aunt Chela started to work in the Organization in 1969, inaugurating the Children’s Village Bulnes, in the south of Chile. After her fifth year of service, she was awarded with the SOS golden ring. She had the honour to receive it directly from the hands of our founder, Hermann Gmeiner. Later, she worked in the Youth Facility in Concepción, also in the south of Chile and in 1992 she moved to the north of the country to begin her work in our village in Arica. During all those years she has raised more than one hundred children. She is grandmother now of numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is very proud to have several professionals between them: teachers, journalists, militaries, etc. She continues being in touch with her SOS children; some of them are entering their fifties now. Aunt Chela’s live path is full of happy but also sad moments. Nowadays she is back in her south and takes care about her old mother, but she keeps a huge love and nostalgia for her dear SOS Children’s Village.

At the moment, our country is being affected by the global financial crisis. Si, the SOS Family Strengthening Programme plays an even more important role in our zone. In the cities of Mejillones, Tocopilla and Calama, in the north of Chile, we attend 966 children and their families with the purpose to prevent family vulnerability. The programme’s work is focused on prevention of vulnerability. We help the adults to conclude their primary and secondary school education and enable them to find a better work. Our aim is that the parents do not abandon, maltreat and abuse their children and that the children do not interrupt their schooling process.

This year we could not make big investments or purchases in the village. But our mothers do their best to cheer up the environment of their houses with new plants and flowers and enliven that way the views in our dessert geography.

Dear sponsors, we know that the financial crisis has reached the corners of the whole word and hope that it will be solved as soon as possible. We appreciate even more your generous and constant support, which makes possible that our children know this crisis only from the news and not on the raw. We are managing these resources, which you generously put to the disposal for our children’s well-being, in the best rational and possible way.

Thank you.

Cordially,

Alvaro Vásquez
SOS Children’s Village Arica