It is said that “Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.” This certainly has been true for us who watch over many children as they grow. They bring joy to our environment, teach us how to be true friends and to love one another despite the situation. We have also learnt that good life is not only guided by knowledge and inspired by accomplishments made but also by the everyday challenges we succeed to overcome.
Another year is coming to an end. It has been filled with joys, successes and challenges but that did not deter us from achieving our objectives for the year. SOS Children’s Village Eldoret is proud to have 124 children of whom 9 are new children and 104 youth under its care. 8 youth have joined different colleges to pursue diploma courses. 17 are pursuing degrees in local and international universities. 2 have taken up internship of three to six months before resuming college. 3 youth have completed their diploma level and are seeking employment while 4 have been employed and successfully been integrated into the community marking the beginning of independence. However, and most importantly so, they have their SOS mothers for advice whenever they are in need.
Going back to normal daily life, the children have been busy with different activities. During the school holiday, children had time to help out in the clean-up of the family houses, and it’s environment. They also had time to participate in the inter-houses sports. Those who belong to different clubs had an opportunity to share and participate in creative activities.
The youth had a chance to go camping in Kakamega Forest National Reserve which is the only tropical rainforest in Kenya. The sheer size and grandeur of these rainforest trees, some over a hundred years old, is impressive. The trees create a natural environment for the birds, insects, butterflies and wildlife. 350 species of bird have been recorded including rare snake-eating birds. The youth enjoyed excellent viewing of birds and other unique species. They also had nature trails and night game walks. At the camp, the youth had a wonderful interactive and educational time not forgetting the bone fires and the “Nyama Choma” (roasted meat) which was in plenty. Not only did they learn the tool of trade of being in the jungle, but they learned to be team members.
It was a thrilling moment when three new family houses were official opened. The children excited were to welcome new children and their SOS Mothers. The village now has 15 family houses. On a monthly basis the youth carry out clean-up exercises within the youth home and its surrounding. This has earned them a good name in the community. Also worth mentioning is the team spirit that was experienced during a traditional dowry negotiation ceremony for one of the youth from Nairobi village who is planning his wedding. It was an honour for the other youth to witness what happens during such occasions. In the cause of the negotiation, they learnt that dowry is not about buying the bride from her family. It is a test for compatibility of the two families involved. It proves that the two families can discuss, even argue about an issue and come to a consensus. It also shows to what extent the groom is willing to humble himself before his in-laws and how much he is willing to sacrifice for his love. Hardly any wedding takes place in Africa with no dowry having been paid. At the end of the day the team concluded that “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there” in times of need.
Family Strenghtening Programme
The Family Strengthening Progamme has started its operations and currently has been able to carry out capacity building workshop, offer nutrition and psycho-social support and remedial classes for children. They have also been able to partner with the Adult literacy education where five beneficiaries who are grannies are attending the literacy programme. The climax of the year was the children’s workshop where four from the
Village and four from the community attended the North Rift Children’s forum. The theme of the conference was ‘Listen to a Child’s voice’. It is an annual event that gives them the opportunity to share experiences and learn from one another. Issues highlighted in this year’s workshop include child rights, forms of child abuse, child labour, and support available through child line call with support networks where children can make the calls for free.
The Secondary, Primary and Nursery
The SOS School Eldoret comprises of a Nursery, Primary and Secondary with a total of 683 students. The students have had a wonderful year posting good results in both their internal and external examinations. Currently the grade 8 and form 4 students are sitting for their national exams. In co-curricular activities different clubs have participated in events like quiz contest where they secured 3rd position, soccer match between the teachers and student where the teachers won 2 - 1. Worth mentioning is the restocking of the school Library. We believe this will go a long way in ensuring that the reading culture is restored for better performance.
On behalf of the Children, SOS Mothers, and co-workers, We are wishing you a Merry Christmas, a prosperous and happy new year.