It is time for the facility report that you are certainly waiting for; I am pleased to report to you the major developments that took place in the SOS Children's Village Irbid during the past six months. As well, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on the children's appreciation for supporting them and helping them to have a happy childhood.
I would like to start this report by addressing the recent changes made on our postal communication between ourselves; as to further serve you as an SOS friend and due to the lack of communication resulted from inappropriate mail services, we decided at the beginning of this summer to adopt the registered mail tool in order to guarantee safe and fast delivery for our mail. However, this tool fulfilled its purpose but at the same time did not meet with the satisfaction of many; owing to the trouble of being present at the post office to receive the mail. Hence we found it necessary to reconsider the registered mail tool and to adopt the ordinary mail again taking into consideration the huge number of displeased sponsors. Nevertheless, we would like to emphasis the great efforts made by our mail courier to guarantee departing our mail from Jordan and kindly ask you to consider the external factors, which lie out of our control that might caused losing the mail on the way to your country.
As for the progress on the SOS facilities in Irbid city, it was like follows:
The SOS Children’s Village Irbid
The number of children living at the village differed since the beginning of the year 2009 up to this moment; as 19 new children were brought in from different orphanages while another 12 transferred to the SOS youth house and more seven returned to live with their biological families. Consequently the total current number for children at the village is 84 children living under the care of 12 mothers; 61 go to schools, eight attend the SOS nursery and the 15 left are below the nursery stage.
The most important change that was made in agreement with the Ministry of Social Development was obtaining missing official identity documents for a number of children, such as birth certificates, family books and identification cards. Obtaining those documents made the children able to enjoy all their rights just like any other children in Jordan from entering school to joining higher education and even practicing in any activity in their practical life.
This year the general performance of the children at school remarkably improved due to engaging the services of private tutors, who helped out the children overcome the difficulties they encountered in their school curriculum especially in English and Math subjects.
With the assistance of the village farmer and some volunteers from Maharat (one of the local community development centres supported by USAID), the village planned for harvesting the olive last October. Picking olives took place on Saturdays during three weeks of fun work and co-operation spirit among all the children, mothers and even the workers at the village. After the work completed each family house took its share of olives and the rest were sent to the mill to extract oil, which covered quarter of the village's need of oil for the next year.
In terms of cultivating the children’s skills during summer holiday and spare times the village organized many activities and programs with the support of international/local charitable entities and volunteers. On top of the summer activities was the Caritas Peace Camp, which calls for fraternal values among children from different backgrounds and religions. The camp took place last summer in Lebanon and lasted for twenty days, wherein the participants (100 children) were able to earn new friendships and to know more about cultures.
Additionally, the children visited the Children's Museum-Jordan last summer, where they enjoyed variety of inventive, educational programs and dynamic activities. Their favourite part for this time was the Art Studio in which they experienced the art-making of all kinds and met with art-educators and local and international artists to help spark their creativity and expand their knowledge of different art forms.
Last but not least was the Hussein Youth Camp that was carried out under the leadership of the General Directorate of Gendarmes Forces. Within this activity, the children received martial practices that included fitness, self-defence, handcrafting and awareness sessions in addition to field trips to experience the training materials on the ground. Other than the new skills earned as a result of this program, the children enhanced their sense of responsibility towards their country and gained new knowledge about the demands of the Jordan labour market.
Hosting so many significant guests, who presented their moral and financial priceless support, also cheered up the children. We mention in particular the visit of the United Nations Ambassador for the Ambitions of Youth for the Middle East, and the young Syrian actor, Milad Yousef. The star visited the village to check on the family houses and showed appreciation for the efforts that the SOS family make for the sake of the children.
The SOS Youth Houses Irbid and the former SOS youth
Due to the increase on the number of the youth coming from the village and since this number is over the full capacity of the youth houses affiliated to the village, it was necessary to open a new youth house for the boys. And thus there are currently 27 youth living in three SOS youth houses, one for girls and two for boys, after 12 children transferred from the village and two left the youth houses to start their semi independent life. The resident youth are of the age range 14 to 18 and they all receive education at schools.
As well, the girls moved to a new house close to the village based on their wishes. The new house is bigger and contains a larger number of rooms. It also does not require constant maintenance work like the one before. This transfer made the girls more comfortable and affected their general performance for the better.
This schooling year for the youth was crowned by the success of three male graduates passing their General Secondary Examinations (the final stage at school). In the support of a local non-governmental organization that cares for Jordanian orphans, Al Aman Fund, these three joined public and private community colleges and universities under Managing Information Systems, Business Management and Special Education majors, which are highly demanded at the Jordan labour market.
Yet, this was not the only joy source for our youth; as the village celebrated the winning of the 16-year-old Saeed for the post of Vice-President of the youth parliament at his school. The Vice-President scored the second highest number of votes with the help of his brothers, friends and neighbours, who amazingly participated in his election campaign, which took place in the middle of this year. After his win, Saeed became responsible of addressing the issues of the students that he represents at school. He was also excited to contribute to solving the students' problems and to be one of the decision makers at school.
One of the main concerns for SOS organization is to refine the personality of SOS children and help them choose paths of their study and profession, as well as to train them on how to be productive individuals in the future. For this reason and within the preparation program designed to integrate SOS children with the local community, the youth were provided with the opportunity to work during the summer holiday in accordance with their age and capabilities, which made them earn practical experience.
Thank you for your support. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.