Receive a warm greeting from El Salvador in this special season of the year. It is a great pleasure to write to you one more time to share with you the daily life of the families and events inside the SOS Children’s Village Santa Tecla throughout this year.
Currently we have 43 children in our village of which 11 are boys and 19 are girls; and of our 13 teenagers, 6 are young men and 7 are ladies. At the end of August this year two young men and two ladies were transfered to the SOS Youth Facilities of Santa Tecla, for which the experience was easy but at the same time hard. For example, for the girls Reyna and Maria it was not easy since the beginning, the first weeks they felt a little desperate and they used to go visit her SOS mother every day to the village. The support and welcome that they get from part of the girls that were already in the youth facility was very helpful for them because they received them very happy and willing to help them in everything they could. On the other hand, the boys Erick and Victor felt that was really easy to adapt to the change but what they really missed is her SOS mother especially when she used to make their food.
As we told you before, we continue with our programme called Growing up in Family, in which we support the biological family of some of our children that were in our village and now are reintegrated with their biological families. We have carried with our visits to the families, only that now not with the purpose of teaching them how to take care of the children; now we do it in order to follow their progress and to see the results of the programme. We continue supporting in every way we can, but we are filled of satisfaction of seeing that all the families were able to adapt to our standards and requirements to give the children all they need. For the children it has also been an experience of learning, they feel happy of being with their biological family again and this motivates them to cooperate in the house with the things that are asked to do.
In order to give the children in the village everything they need we are constantly making requirements with other organisms or institutions for their support especially if it is about the basic services of the children. For the moment we count with the support of the National Hospital San Rafael that is located in the city of Santa Tecla; they have been treating one of our children, Jorge Luis, who is in a wheelchair and has been in an evaluative process during three months and he will submit to a surgery at the end of the year. The Ministry of Education also helped us to make possible that some of our children will be able to attend different school centers on the area, because their ages are not according to their academic level. This is because most of them, before being welcomed in the village, had never been to school, despite they have more than the average age for starting their basic education, therefore their age doesn’t correspond to their academic level.
Today, as an organization, we are given much importance to the biological families of our children so they can have more contact with them, thereby encouraging, not only visits to the village, but also a greater commitment to their children. Therefore big efforts have been made to localize and contact those relatives of the children that are able to start contact by going to visit them in the village. This also helped us because a lot of our children, when they start their independence process, will be able to have the option of being reintegrated to their biological family or any relative close to them.
During the year we had many recreational and healthy recreation activities for all children. A few months ago we had the anniversary celebration of the village, this was a party that everyone enjoyed, and it also made us feel proud and satisfied to see our children so happy. They also enjoyed the vacation trip that the families made to different tourist places of the country; the one that they enjoy the most was the one to the Volcano of San Salvador; there they had the chance to visit and exotic garden with one of the most beautiful flowers and plants of our country, it is a very fresh wood because even at noon they still have their sweaters on; it was a very beautiful experience for them.
Another major activity of this year was Valentine’s Day in which special cards were made with the name of every child and also messages according to the friendship were wrote. The mothers also participated cooking a really good snack of meatloaf, fruit cocktail and really good lemonade.
A lot of our girls are very excited making necklaces, bracelets and earrings by themselves, this is because a lady that makes jewelry had taught them, they are thinking about putting a mini business because of the results and put on sale their creations between their friends and classmates. Activities like this gives our children the opportunity of exploit their creativity and realize that they have the ability to make beautiful things.
As part of the independence process of our youth, when they are already living in the SOS Youth Facility they have support in the search of a job. It is important that they find a stable job before they become independent to be able to cover everything they need; especially those that don’t count with family support on that moment. This is one of the biggest challenges for our teenagers because the situation of the country does not allow them to have a lot of job opportunities. By the other hand, the age of some of the youth is not according to her academic level and that closes more opportunities. Despite that they make their best effort and continue looking for a job and focusing on their studies. Currently we have a girl studying a degree of business administration in the university and she has a part time job in a clothing store, at the beginning it was very hard for her to handle her studies and her job at the same time because she studied all week and worked on weekends; but despite of that and how tired she was her academic performance is very good and she has really good marks. At the same time we have to teens that are still at school and they are learning several tasks, they are taking an electricity course.
We hope you enjoyed reading and knowing more about the different activities that the families live in the village. We want you to know that we are making our biggest effort in order to give our children a better life and a better future, and you are part of it. Thank you very much for your help and support that makes us able to reach it. May God bless you always.
Sonia del Carmen Orellana Figueroa
SOS Children’s Village Santa Tecla