On behalf of children, mothers, co-workers and on my personal behalf, let me thank you for being with us to support our work for the children and keeping the light of hope burning in the lives of children in the care at SOS Children’s Village Anuradhapura as well as in the Family Strengthening Programmes that we are carrying out in the neighbouring community. Happy childhood - is the right of every child. With your continued support for our work, you have ensured that 436 children and youth who are cared in all the SOS Projects at SOS Children’s Village, Anuradhapura. Thank you.
SOS Children’s Village:
16 girls and 11 boys found a new home and a family at SOS Children's Village Anuradhapura. At present a total of 110 children are provided care in 14 SOS Families. All of them are currently schooling. Children, mothers and co-workers join in celebrating all the important national festivals as well as the religious festivals. This helps the young children to enrich their knowledge about the traditions and values such festivals uphold. Laxini who is very much interested in sports activities, was very proud to have won the 1st place in the 200 meter running event at the provincial level. This was a happy occasion for her as well as for her family. We wish her all the very best with her future sporting activities. Every year various programmes are organized to educate the children, mothers and co-workers on a number of subjects that would interest each group. The highlight of this year’s programmes is the numerous programmes on Child’s Right and Child’s responsibility. This is relatively a new subject in this part of the world and we feel that having a good knowledge of the subject would benefit all concerned.
SOS Children’s Village Anuradhapura continues to serve the children in their neighbouring community as well. 142 children attend the SOS Nursery. The SOS Nursery is very popular in the area for its quality service to the young children. Teachers and the Village Director do work hard to continue this standard. All activities at the SOS Nursery are focused on developing the personality of the young children attending the SOS Nursery. In addition to celebrating the national and religious festivals, the children are participating in the annual concert and also the annual sports meet. The co-operation we receive from the parents of the children in organizing these special activities is very much appreciated.
The Family Strengthening Programme- helping children in need in the neighbouring community – has made a significant mark – in the lives of the young beneficiaries. Being able to continue their schooling and having a square meal every day means a lot for these young children. Currently 280 children and 132 caregivers are enrolled in this programme. The caregivers are the parents and adults, who are also provided with awareness programmes and self employment programmes. As adult they too need to be guided and assisted to be responsible for their own family. Young children are provided assistance to continue their education, whilst youth and adults are helped to learn a trade so that they could earn a living. These communities are also encouraged to form a strong community among themselves taking up common development projects. Such activities would help build their own communities helping each other to prosper and have strong family ties.
SOS Youth Facilities:
14 girls and 32 boys are being provided for in the SOS Youth Facilities for Girls and Boys at SOS Children’s Village Anuradhapura. Nine girls and 18 boys are resident in these Youth Facilities whilst the rest are boarded outside. Of these boys and girls some are still schooling, some are attending vocational/employment training and some have just started to work. 10 youth found employment this year. These youths, though they are resident in the SOS Youth Facilities, they continue to belong to their SOS Families. Hence they continue their relationship with their families even though they physically do not live in the SOS Family house.
SOS Vocational Training Centre:
As we mentioned in our letter last year, SOS VTC, Anuradhapura was elevated to a “A” Grade Vocational Training Institute by the Tertiary & Vocational Education commission. Hence the trainees would be now eligible to take the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) examination and receive NVQ certificate. This was the first time that the trainees of SOS VTC Anuradhapura obtained this very recognized certificate. 12 trainees from the Motor Mechanic Course and eight from the Welding Course completed their courses and were awarded with the NVQ certificate. The Lions’ Club of Anuradhpaura organized a programme for the trainees of the Motor Mechanic Course to participate in a workshop in “Wheel Alignment”. The Lions’ Club gifted the VTC with a Gear Box for the trainees to learn.
The trainees here are also coached in Mathematics, Science and English as these subjects are vital if they are to be successful at the training. The staff and the trainees do contribute in major activities organized by the SOS Children’s Village Anuradhapura. They were instrumental in providing a major support with regard to the opening of the SOS Temporary Care Project in Vavuniya recently.
2009 is also very significant for our country – the civil unrest that has been in our country came to an end. SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka was able to set up a SOS Temporary Care Centre in the Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDP) in the north of the country. 4 Dormitories – 2 for girls and 2 for boys, a kitchen and an administrative building comprises this project. As of mid October 2009, 217 girls and boys of various age groups who need care were brought home to the Centre. These children and youth were either orphans or the parents and family were separated in the chaos of activities that took place during the latter stages of the civil war in the north of Sri Lanka. We were able to reunite 15 children with their biological/extended families whilst five youth who were over 18 were admitted to follow vocational training at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Jaffna. 197 children are resident. At present more attention is given to help the children with trauma therapy and provide security, especially for girl child. The temporary school set up in the IDP Camp does not have sufficient space for all the children to attend school at the same time. Therefore young children attend school during the morning hours and the older children in the afternoon. When they are not attending school they are in the tuition classes held in the SOS Premises. Efforts are made to find their families and reunite them. At a later stage if we are unable to locate their families, such children would be continued to care for in one of the SOS Children’s Villages.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we do very much appreciate your continued commitment to support our work for the children of our country and are very proud of you. Let’s continue to work together to ensure that many more children in our country would have a happy childhood and live with love and security at all times.
Seasons’ Greetings and A Happy New Year 2010.