Undoubtedly the economic situation has been stable for some time now since adopting other countries’ currencies as legal tender although life has not returned to the normalcy that existed way back. The US$ is hard to come by for the average person and when it comes it is easily expended by the unusually high prices of goods and services.
Our major emphasis for this year is discipline, economic literacy and integration; all efforts seem to have been harnessed in these directions. Noticeable movements have been recorded, more so with regard to integration. In order to instil discipline children have been involved in Inter-Children’s Villages’ sports competitions in volleyball, soccer and netball. Apart from occupying them meaningfully they have had fun and made new friends.
One of our village children, a grade seven pupil at Primary School has excelled in the Museums and Monuments sponsored quiz competition by coming first at national level. He also won the coveted Chairman’s Award for 2009 amongst all the children. He has a bright future.
To instil a sense of self reliance the village has seriously embarked on a number of income generating projects which include gardening, rabbit-keeping, sewing and poultry keeping. Of late the village has dug out compost pits for all decay matter rather than burning it, thus making organic fertilizer for their gardens while being environmentally friendly.
Insofar as aligning the values of children with community values in partnership with the Family Strengthening Programme, many children went to high density Glen Norah and Budiriro suburbs for holiday during the April and August school holidays. Those with relatives have either visited them during the same time or have made efforts to trace them.
Our youth section posed a new set of opportunities and challenges. Our successes include 4 high academic achievers who have qualified for the Ghana international College. Two High school leavers have gone to study for degrees in the USA. Five semi independent youths are now living outside the village on their own but with support from the village. Ten youths have gone on holiday away from the village as part of preparing them for eventual integration into the community.
The SOS Primary School
The enrolment at the Primary School has not had any significant reduction as expected due to the high fees charged at the school. Only three pupils have transferred to other schools in and out of the country.
The school has done well in inter-schools sports such as netball, soccer, basketball and national quiz.
We came first in the National Quiz for the entire country, first in soccer both colts and under 13. We came third in Netball for under 13 and in basketball for girls we came fourth. Finally in the grade sevens’ public examinations, 96% of the children passed. The results for 2008 exams were published lately.
The SOS Nursery
The kindergarten has a total enrolment of 157 children, twenty of these are from the village and the rest are from the community. Amongst the community children 10 are on SOS scholarship. Apart from the normal educational regiment, the kindergarten has had gymnastic sessions, traditional dance, group plays.
Payment of fees has been a challenge to most parents. However the enrolment still remains a bit too high for the facilities available. To minimize the effect of slow payers, a committee of parents has embarked on fundraising for the nursery. Its target is to raise US$3000.While the biggest challenge has been slow payment of fees where most parents start by paying 50% of the fees, the nurseryn has remained afloat and accomplished all its core targets as a preschool.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme
With regard to our Community Family Strengthening Programme, we have partnered with three organizations which are UNICEF, HOSPAZ and CBZ.
UNICEF donated 20 000 aqua tablets for immediate purification of drinking water, together with 1500 tablets of soap used to minimize the spread of cholera amongst our beneficiaries.
We also linked up with HOSPAZ – an umbrella body for the organizations that do home based care activities. It donated to the FSP a consignment of 80 home based care kits valued at US$6 800. Each household with a bed ridden patient would now be able to look after the patient without the risk of being infected.
Lastly the programme entered into an understanding with the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to loan our vulnerable families some money for their different money making projects. We believe that once a family enters into a reliable relationship with the bank, the beneficiaries would be able to get similar loans even well after SOS has stopped operating in the project areas. Hence the families, at the end of the day, will be stronger and independent in many aspects even without SOS giving a helping hand.
Your continued unwavering support for our children is greatly appreciated, and we pledge to invest all our effort and determination to see that children in need of care, love and security get the necessary support to ensure their integration into society.