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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Entebbe, Uganda

Sponsored child from Entebbe
Sponsored child from Entebbe

A child sponsorship report from Entebbe in Uganda. Written in 2009.

Dear Sponsors,

It’s that time of the year once again! The festive mood is steadily growing not only around us but within us. We hope you are feeling the same way too! So much has happened this year and as usual, we are happy to share it all with you.

SOS Children’s Village updates

We welcomed a new baby girl, Eva into our family. Eva is 4 years old and she instantly became everyone’s darling.  She was an only child when we found her. Her social skills had not greatly developed because she spent most of the time staying in doors by herself while the adults she lived with went out in search of odd jobs to enable them to earn a living. Their living conditions were indeed sad. On the positive side, Eva is slowly learning how to talk and we are glad she is able to say a few words and is much happier. The loneliness is long gone because she now has brothers and sisters to play with and a mother who is always there for her. We expect her to join the SOS nursery next year.

Currently, construction to expand our facilities is ongoing. An SOS Medical and Social Centre is being constructed to serve the community around us. We are also building youth houses to accommodate the older children who leave the family houses and make room for new and younger children to join the village. We believe that the new facilities will be ready for use next year.

SOS Children’s Villages celebrates the 60th anniversary

2009 marks 60 years since the inception of SOS Children’s Villages worldwide and in Uganda, we celebrated our 60th anniversary with a charity walk held in Entebbe. We invited the entire community, including local leaders and were joined by our colleagues from our sister villages in Kakiri and Gulu. The event was a success and we also used it as a fundraising activity, also a great success.

Reading exhibition at the SOS nursery

This year our nursery organized a reading exhibition for the children under the theme ‘Animals and Transport’. The main aim was to promote and strengthen a reading culture among the children as well as develop their confidence. The children were required to read and understand stories and thereafter present a skit depicting what they had read. In order to help the children understand better, they visited the zoo to see the animals they had read about. On the D-day, it was amazing to see several children who could hardly speak English when they first joined nursery, being able to tell stories in English by simply interpreting pictures from a book. Parents were very impressed with the progress that their little ones have made since they started at the SOS nursery.

SOS Children’s Village Eldoret visit Entebbe

17 mothers and aunts from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret led by their Village Director travelled all the way from neighbouring Kenya to have a 3 day retreat in Uganda. Both SOS Children’s Village Entebbe and Kakiri were privileged to host the team on different days. As the mothers interacted with the families here, the excitement was evident, especially as they shared their work experiences and good practices with each other. In addition, the Eldoret mothers had the opportunity to visit places like the Uganda Martyrs shrine, the Kasubi tombs, the Uganda Parliament and government ministries, and the National Theatre among others.  They were also treated to a social evening where they interacted with the administrative staff. Before embarking on the long journey back home, they exchanged gifts and many good byes with the mothers here! We believe it was a wonderful experience for everyone.

Mother training

In order to improve their skills in child care, a group of 10 SOS mothers and aunts travelled to the Regional Training and Resource Centre in Nairobi to attend a 3-month basic skills training. We are proud to inform you that one of our very own mothers from Kakiri has been identified to train for the role of a Mother Mentor. Mama Goretti is therefore attending the training in preparation for her future role. To begin with she will also facilitate a few discussions during this training.  Hopefully the mothers will greatly benefit and thereafter apply the new skills within their families on their return.

Family Strengthening Programme

The Family Strengthening Programme continues to positively impact our community. A number of success stories have been registered and it is encouraging to see a family that was on the verge of giving up on their children gaining the hope to live again. Being a wet season, the vegetable growing group has had a bountiful harvest. Every week, the group leader endeavours to supply a variety of vegetables to the mothers and staff here at the SOS Children’s Village. The proceeds are then shared by all the members who use them to support their families, particularly the children, and for us this is great!

Challenges

The children are growing up so fast and we now have a number of adolescents. As we all know, the transition from childhood to adolescence is not always easy on both the children and their parents. The children tend to display both physical and emotional changes which present a number of challenges to their caretakers.  To enable mothers to cope with this, skills on how to handle adolescents are imparted and they are also encouraged to seek advice from the administrative staff on how handle different situations. On the children’s side, counselling as well as talks on health and morals are conducted. These are aimed at helping them understand what they are going through and how they can deal with the situation.

The children will break off for the long Christmas holidays in December and we look forward to that.  It is always the best part of the year because the children love getting gifts from Santa Claus. Let me take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of the entire SOS Children’s Village Entebbe family for supporting us, even through the difficult global financial crisis. We know it is not easy, but you have stuck with us and for that we are grateful.  We would not be able to reach out to the children without your support.

We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy 2010.