Whenever this time comes, it always urges us to send you best wishes of a Merriest Christmas and a Happiest New year ever. Yet, we are always in search of words to express our deep felt gratitude for your significant contribution in the activities of SOS Children’s Village Awassa and its affiliated facilities.
The SOS Children's Village
SOS Children’s Village Awassa has continued working on Family Based care and Family Strengthening programs as its two major pillars. Currently our village is a home for 171 children. Amongst them, 135 are in the village. 36 of them are in the youth facilities practicing their semi independent life and integration with the surrounding community. And we are still engaged in admission process of new children from Awassa and other near by towns. All the new members are currently feeling at home and are enjoying their childhood with their new SOS family.
In the final semester of the completed academic year, all the village co-workers exerted a lot of effort for better achievement of school going children. In doing so, many children and youth have been getting support on their educational performance from the village educator and social worker. The library has also been serving the students to read comfortably. As a result, 122 of the 133 school going children are promoted to their respective next grade level. Of these, 33 are in the ranks. Currently, all the children are working well to cope with the studies in the new academic year started in September with big enthusiasm for better achievements. In similar development, all 9 of the youth who took the national university entrance exam are promoted and assigned to different universities.
In July and August all the school-going children and youth enjoyed their long summer vacation. Besides their participation in different activities, our village was colored in the real sense of children’s village with variety of plays everywhere, small gatherings and chats. Most of all, there were intensive participation of children in ten different clubs in accordance with their age and interests.
The farm club members took part in planting vegetables and taking care of the flowers and trees in the village. The reproductive health club members on their part had a great time discussing on gender and HIV/AIDS related matters. The child right and obligation club members have also spent ample time in discussing about child right and participated in different trainings given by the social worker. Children with good skills of art were sharing their skills to other members of the art and literature club. They were also having art and literature contest among themselves and displayed an art exhibition for the village community. The peer group study club on their part spent time helping one another in their study sessions and arranged question and answer competition among the village children. On top of all, the village child parliament has played a great role in organizing the clubs and monitoring different activities. The village parliament members took part in the formation of a national child parliament held at the SOS National Office, Addis Ababa. And our Village is represented by 3 members in the parliament.
In addition to the club activities children had different entertaining and educational tours and sport competition with other children from the surrounding community.
Based on the UN child right convention, the village social worker conducted first round training for children older than 10. During the training, children have been taught to understand not only their right but also their responsibilities. In addition, they actively participated in focal group discussion and role plays about their rights.
In the elapsed time of the year, our village hosted a practical training for trainee SOS mothers and aunts who have been taking theoretical training at the National Office’s staff development center. A total of twenty trainees from Harrar, Makale, Bahirdar and our trainee mothers as well stayed in our village for about twenty days and practically saw how to care for children in an SOS family. SOS mothers and aunts from Awassa village also shared their experiences for the trainees.
Our village family had various colorful gatherings to commemorate different days. We recently organized a very special cultural beauty pageant among very little children with most of them being newly admitted.
In collaboration with two other philanthropic organizations working for children, our village children have participated on African Child day celebrated on June 09, 2009. The program was venue at Awassa City Cultural Hall with variety of shows. At the occasion, the city’s Women and Children Affairs prepared a panel discussion that lasts for about two hours. The children from our village had the opportunity to raise different ideas that build up their confidence of speech before a large crowd. Three of our beneficiary students from the SOS Family Strengthening Program also won the poem competition. All the participant children from our village and other parts of the city had also been marching through the street of Awassa with the motto of the day “comfortable situation for children” and some messages related to child right.
The other enchanting festivity was June 23, SOS Day. On the day, promotional works had been done on what SOS Children village and its affiliated projects do. Different pictures showing the work of SOS were displayed on the day and invited guests appreciated it. Apart from these, different poems, short plays, games, songs and cultural dance were presented by children.
The facility for the special need children has continued its activities to improve the wellbeing of the children with special needs. Four of the special need youth who are attending school have performed well and promoted to their next grade successfully. Two of the needy youth also start vocational training skill every afternoon at Addis Development Vision Training Centre on leather making and embroidery.
To enhance the awareness of the SOS family and other stake holders about the special needs unit, we have prepared a manual. Besides, the Special Needs Officer and Educator conducted training for all SOS mothers, aunts and youth leaders about special needs.
SOS School and SOS Nursery
Both the SOS School and SOS Nursery completed the academic year successfully and were closed for the two months summer vacation. Before the closing, both had colorful graduation ceremonies. The SOS School graduated the second level preparatory students who took the entrance exam to join local universities. Meanwhile, children at the final level of the SOS Nursery also graduated and joined the 1st grade at the SOS School. Most interestingly, all the grade 8, 10, and second level preparatory students who sat for national examination are all promoted with very good results. By now both the facilities continued serving quality education in the new academic year as well.
Family Strengthening Program
In this program, carefully selected poor families have been provided with different services. Amongst, 53 families who are headed by poor single mothers, child (Siblings) and terminally ill and who faced severe food shortage received food support.
Medical support is one of the intervention areas that our project focuses on. The area in which the family strengthening program operates is known for its poor level of hygiene and before the intervention of the Family Strengthening Programme in the area, the residents were vulnerable to water born diseases and children used to pass away because the families cannot afford even the lowest level of medication. But now, the health status of our right holders has improved as a result of the support provide by the program. In addition to the medical support, health education focusing on preventions is provided to the right holders through home to home visit. HIV/AIDS is also included in the health education program and families living with HIV are given special attention and are advised to get check ups for their health status frequently. Some of them are already taking ART /Anti Retroviral Therapy/ and we encourage them to be consistent in taking the drug.
Moreover, every Friday beneficiaries of the centre including children are being provided with counseling service. The attendants come with various problems they face and they are helped to find solutions.
Three female beneficiary students who have been attending their studies in different government universities are graduated in the completed year and are now looking for jobs. For the new academic year 443 beneficiary students are provided with stationery materials and uniforms. The right holder students who are academically weak have also been provided with tutorial classes in collaboration with SOS School.
Aster Alemu (Mrs.)
Village Director, Awassa