I transmit you herewith the kindest regards of children and families from the SOS Children´s Village Chiclayo, which currently shelters 112 boys and girls of ages between 1 and 17 years old, coming from 13 families. Six young ladies are living in a SOS Youth Facility, while continuing with their formation process by following technical or university careers, with the permanent support and supervision of their SOS families. 24 young people decided to take part in the semi-independent housing program, also with the support of the organization. Their SOS mothers visit them regularly and encourage them to pursue a self-reliant, autonomous life.
At the Children´s Village the year started with very high temperatures. The children enjoyed more than two months of summer school holidays, and had the opportunity to play, and to share the toys they received last December as Christmas gifts. Undoubtedly swimming in the neighboring pool was one of their favorite activities for the summer time. Many of them attended different summer workshops (sports, choir, etc.) as well as additional school support, especially the ones who had problems the previous school year. A group of children attended English lessons at ICPNA, a renowned language institute of the city. During this time of the year, their biological families use to visit them more frequently.
In February, several activities to celebrate the 26th anniversary of our SOS Children´s Village were organized, being the main date March 1st, when representatives of public and private institutions of the region visited us and were able to make a tour through the facilities of our Children´s Village. After taking part in the main celebration ceremony, they talked to the children and played with them. We also had a traditional Yunza (people dancing and singing around the trunk of a tree decorated with little presents), and a family trip.
By the end of February, the mothers began to register their children at school, and to purchase school materials and uniforms for the new school year. For most of the children the school year started on March 2nd. Seven little children started their school life at the nursery. Some of them cried loud because they didn´t want their moms to ‘leave’ them there. Little by little they got used to the idea of staying longer ‘at school’. Their moms confessed later with a big smile that they had cried too, and that they were very sad to leave their children crying. They also told us they couldn´t wait to pick them from school, and counted the seconds to have them back home. Half an hour before the bell rang, they were already standing at the school door…
In the framework of an agreement signed with the renowned Peruvian-American Cultural Institute (ICPNA), free English lessons are offered to some of our children and youths. The first picture above shows our children receiving CDs, books, and other materials for their English lessons. Students from the University ‘Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo’ are doing their practical training by offering additional school support to the children. The Quiñones Health Care Centre is training our mothers and co-workers in health care issues. Furthermore, medical campaigns are being carried out (health care, dental care, and physical development of children and youths) in order to prevent health problems. The results are always positive, and follow-up is available when required.
In the framework of the Family Strengthening Programme, we provide our services to 552 children of ages between 1 and 6, coming from 501 families. 120 of them, members of 107 families are assisted at the Social Centre, as well as 432 children from 394 families at the 13 Childminding Programmes. Since January the Social Centre is also offering educational services. The classrooms are temporarily in charge of senior students of the Faculty of Education of the Cesar Vallejo. Thanks to the agreement signed with the Regional Directorate of Education, state teachers will take over this responsibility soon. The ‘Glass of Milk’ Committee continues to coordinate with the Central Committee, so that 40 liters of fresh milk are daily delivered to our programmes.
All childminding programmes have complete and properly trained Family Committees. One of them has signed an alliance with PRONOEI (Non-formal Initial Education Program), while 7 take part in the ‘Glass of Milk’, and 3 in the Food Aid Programme (full menu) in cooperation with the Public Welfare of Lambayeque. The required steps are being taken, in order to obtain the renovation of the recognition of 10 childminding programmes as Social Basic Organizations. An agreement has been signed with the University ‘Señor de SIPAN’, thanks to which interns of the faculties of Psychology and Law support us as volunteers. New agreements are about to be signed.
At the Community Centre we assist 87 children while 165 children are supported through childminding programmes. We have signed following agreements: with the Regional Directorate of Education in Lambayeque, which supports us with teachers for the Non Formal Initial Education Programmes; with the Private University ‘Señor de Sipán’ through its Psychology School; with the Health Care Centre ‘José Abelardo Quiñónez’; with the Foundation ‘Clementina Acuña de Peralta’; with the Glass of Milk Programme, thanks to which 100% of the children receive a glass of milk daily; with the University ‘César Vallejo’ through senior students who have assumed the educational area; with Vocational Training Centres which offer Labor Training Workshops for mothers. Family Committees take part and get involved in the maintenance of the infrastructure painting the classrooms, doing the shopping for the daily menus for the children, carrying out cleaning journeys, among others. Volunteers coming from the University ‘Pedro Ruiz Gallo’ (Sociology School), as well as from the University ‘Señor de Sipán’ (Law School), the University ‘Santo Toribio Mogrovejo’ (Medical School), and from the University ‘César Vallejo’ (Education School), support our work in different areas.
It is with great pleasure that we have shared with you the most relevant moments experienced with our families in the family-based care programme, but also with the families of the Family Strengthening Programme, since it´s thanks to your support that we are able to do our work on behalf of children and families in risk!
José Hernán Contreras Heredia
SOS Children´s Village Chiclayo