Dear and special friends:
We are so pleased to write to you again and to give you herewith our best regards and wish you all the best and God´s blessings.
This is a very special year for our SOS community, as on March 8th we celebrated our 25 anniversary working on behalf of the less favored children from Arequipa. This day could not go unnoticed, so we programmed several activities for the whole month.
On the main day of our anniversary we had a simple but at the same time very emotional celebration. We welcomed young people who lived in the Children´s Village some years ago, and who are now parents. Some of them are already struggling their way towards independent life. Many SOS friends who were there when the Children´s Village was founded, accompanied us too, and so did the National Director, co-workers from the organization countrywide and the main authorities of the city.
It was very touching when during the ceremony, not only the happy moments but also the difficult and sad moments experienced by the village community along these 25 years were recalled. It is really not an easy task to cope every day with so many different characters, emotions, and behaviors. As usual in a regular family, we suffer when we see that one family member has difficulties to get adapted to a new environment or to the house norms. The heart aches every time discipline and correcting actions have to be taken. However, with each goal accomplished, when they get into the university, when they conclude their technical careers, when they stand out in sports or music… we look at each other and cannot hide this precious feeling of happiness and proud: all efforts have been worth it.
Several weeks before the main event, children and youths industriously rehearsed their music and dance performances. In a beautiful mix of color and talent, they got the warm ovation of all the spectators. The SOS moms and aunties surprised us offering an energetic and colorful dance.
This celebration was a good occasion for the community of Arequipa to see the work the organization is doing on behalf of children in risk. On Woman´s Day Margarita was honored as a Role Model Mother by the Municipality of Arequipa in a very touching ceremony. Our 13 mothers were also honored by the Municipality of Cerro Colorado, where our Children´s Village is located.
At the end of the day we shared very nice moments at a beautiful party, where the main characters were the children and youths, who are and continue to be the motivation for our work.
Although the preparations of this big event and the celebration itself interrupted the routine for some weeks, we keep on working with all our commitment and dedication on behalf of those children who have lost their families because of diverse reasons or are in risk of losing them. In the course of these last months six children have been admitted into our Children´s Village joining the 107 children who are members of the 13 families, while 17 young people share their daily life in two Youth Facilities, one for young ladies and one for young men. 22 young people have decided to go on different housing options, that is, they have been reinserted into their biological families but continue to be supported by SOS until they conclude their technical training or university studies and can start their way towards independent life.
In the framework of the Family Strengthening and Community Development Programme we continue to run 43 childminding programmes, distributed in five districts of Arequipa city, attending 1,090 children and their families, accompanying and empowering their communities to work on their own development. In our efforts to accomplish this objective the increasing number of local community leaders identified could be observed. It will be their task form associations, to guide and to lead their communities towards human and economic development in order to become self-reliant and autonomous. One of the strategies is to offer training workshops on topics such as Elaboration and Management of Social Projects, Leadership, and Community Management.
We hope to keep in touch with you and to keep you informed about the activities carried out in our SOS Children´s Village. We wish you all the best and hope all your dreams will come true!
Antonio Gallegos Gallegos
Director – Aldea Infantil SOS Arequipa