The Christmas season is a time of love and joy for the children and youth at the SOS Children's Village Penonomé. Everyone waits with great enthusiasm this time. The SOS mothers and the children like to decorate their houses using Christmas lights and ornaments.
The village has 14 families and a population of 121 children. During this year we have admitted two groups of siblings’ ages of 3, 4, 5 and 8 years old, all of them received a good reception from their new family.
This year, we have transferred nine youth to the SOS youth facility, to start their process of independence. They attended an orientation procedure with speeches about themes of great importance for their integral youth development.
The link of the children entering to the village is a large SOS family, but also at the same time the programme with their biological family is continued. Eighty percent of the children visit their biological family during the summer and their families visit some of them every two or three months. The children maintain a good communication with their biological families and this year we have been working with the Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) in the Secure Steps Programme that enables the children to keep a solid contact with their families.
Another priority issue is the education for the children and youth. There are some special cases of children who have learning difficulties, their SOS mothers have sought special teachers and have improved academically and the younger ones have improved their motor skills.
This year, six youth will graduate from middle school and three others will graduate from secondary school. And these last three will be enrolling in the university. They are motivated to study careers in Sanitation Engineering, Accounting and the other youth wants to enter to the Police Academy.
This year we are offering lectures on: self-esteem, personal hygiene, teenage sexuality, values, adolescence and other important issues to the girls from 11 to 15 years. We have assistance of a psychologist who is attending these girls. Also, 15 youth in the aged 14 to 16 years are in the Vocational Education Programme for the SOS youth facilities and for those who still live in the Children’s Village and will enter to secondary school.
As it is traditional, on Student’s Day, three students who have good grades replaced their professors in the physical education classes. Two children also replaced primary school teachers that day.
Another five youth and children marched in the honour roll in this year patriotic parades, distinguished for their excellent academic achievement. Others marched with their school bands.
As for the youths in the independence process, they are oriented to work in the Coclé Province (where the village is located) and in Panama City (at two hours from the village). The SOS youth leader is playing an important role, as he is guiding them to care for their jobs and to continue their studies.
This year, seven SOS youths became independent from the youth facility, six young men and a young lady. Also, another independent young woman, 22 years old, Orlinda, graduated, with the Village’s support, with and Early Childhood Intervention technical degree and at the end of this year she will receive a Licentiate degree.
SOS mothers, aunts and youths took a refresher seminar at the SOS training centre in Panama City. Two SOS aunts, Mirna and Yadira finished the first phase of the Mothers Education course which touched vital importance issues for the integral upbringing of children and are putting it into practice at their homes and in their daily lives. Two other substitute aunts, Migdalia and Xenia, are finishing their work experience with their group to present it later on.
Mid-year school vacation was filled with fun. Five families visited the beach and ten biological siblings groups shared with their biological families one week. Also, the SOS mothers organized a picnic outside their homes, others went hiking with their children and another made trips to the Zaratí and Sonadora rivers on the community.
Six children are actively involved in their school folkloric dance group, placing the village at a high level. Also, 120 children participated in football teams in the local community. At the end of the year, nine youths will make their Catholic confirmation and fifteen children will receive their First Communion.
The year 2009 has been very beneficial in terms of donations. Houses 3, 6 and10, have received aid in the making their grilles for their windows, and the houses 6, 7 and 12 have received donations from foreigners that are living in the Altos del Maria community. We have also received donations of powered nourishing cereal from the Ministry of Education, and a lady professor of the community, who is planting pineapples for exportation, has donated some of her crop.
Regarding the village maintenance, we have been painting outside and inside of houses No. 11, 12, and 14. Also we have continued repairing some of the closets that have been damaged over time.
We said goodbye to you, but not before thanking you for the unconditional support extended to us throughout the year. Without your significant collaboration made to our children and young people, they most certainly would not have reached many of their hopes and dreams.
SOS Children’s Village Penonomé