We are so pleased to give you our best regards from the district of Sicaya, province of Huancayo. The weather right now is quite cold, and for this reason moms take well care of their little ones, who have to wear warm clothes to prevent respiratory diseases.
We would very much like to share with you some details about our work in the Family-based care programme, supporting 116 children from 13 SOS families. 15 young ladies and young men are currently living in two SOS Youth Facilities. Some of them are just starting their technical formation, while others have decided to follow university studies. This is the case of Antúnez, who with 17 years of age passed the entrance examination into the Faculty of Anthopology at the Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú. This is undoubtedly a good reason to be proud. Thanks to your support our children and youths are able to build their own future.
But together with achievements and nice moments, we have to live also sad experiences. This year we were witnesses of a very hard time for two full siblings, who had been admitted a few months before: Angela (5) and Wilian Cesar (18 months old). Their biological mother died of cancer and their SOS mother Ruth and me had to tell them the bad news and take them to the funeral. It was the girl who guided us to her former house. She remembered how many times she had walked on that street with her mother. It was a very long way, and we could not find the way to tell them their mother was gone. People always say adults can find a solution for everything, but we could not find the way to tell them the truth. We were so sad and concerned… Then before we entered the house, mama Ruth embraced them lovingly and made them look above in the sky saying: ‘My dearest children, your mother went on a long, long trip today. She won´t be in pain anymore, she will be happy there, and she will be able to look at you and protect you for the rest of your lives’. Perhaps at that moment the children were not completely aware of the meaning of this message, but one thing is for sure: mama Ruth and her family will do their best to fill this gap…
We think family is everything in life, and for this reason we promote the strengthening of vulnerable families, by supporting 882 children and their families in the communities of the Mantaro valley, promoting the respect and protection of their rights and preventing them from being abandoned.
By the end of December 2008 we proudly witnessed the ‘graduation’ of 12 mothers from the Family Strengthening Programme. Thanks to the support of the SOS Social Project Huancayo, they have been able to improve their situation by strengthening their skills and capabilities. They are now self-reliant women, who know their rights and how to defend them.
Several health care campaigns have been carried out so far, such as detection of parasitical diseases, detection of anemia, and nutritional evaluations among the children of pre-school level at the SOS nursery. We continue to work with the mothers through workshops for Personal Development and Self-esteem. They are aware that ‘it´s better to prevent than to regret’ and for this reason they enthusiastically take part in all prevention campaigns (HIV and cancer checkups, PAP tests) carried out in cooperation with local specialists.
In March the required steps were taken before the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status in order to obtain the identity card for all children attending the pre-school level. The identity card is the main requirement to access the SIS (Integral Health Care System), which provides free medical attention and treatment throughout the country. Starting April, all mothers from the 35 childminding programmes are being trained in topics such as Family Violence, Child Abuse, and Sexual Abuse. Furthermore, workshops showing them to improve their farming productivity are being held.
The Social Project celebrated the Day of the Family with a two-day Agenda on May 15th and 16th. Approximately 100 guests, representing local institutions took actively part in the I Workshop for Institutions working with Children and Adolescents in Foster Care Centers. On May 24th a meeting between the families of the Family-based care programme (Children´s Village) and the families of the Family Strengthening Programme (childminding programmes) took place. It was a warm and sunny Sunday when the children and youths had the opportunity to show their skills for sports and enjoy a very amusing show with clowns and games. But not only they had the possibility of showing their skills, as the mothers from the Children´s Village and the mothers from the Social Center played a volleyball game, while their children cheered them on. It was also a very nice day to take a walk through the garden or to eat some snacks. The highlight of the day was the big lunch around the sports field. 300 people, including families, relatives, friends, and co-workers shared a delicious meal and enjoyed the music. It was a very intense experience, and it took much energy for the co-workers to organize it and to take part in some of the activities planned, but at the end of the day they could feel the satisfaction of a job well done!
Reading these lines you can understand why all these scenes and experiences allow us to feel that our work and our efforts are always worth it. We are so grateful to life for giving us the opportunity to become part of this big social movement. We know we can count on people who keep on supporting our work, even in times of crisis and social problems.
Thank you for supporting us, thank you for helping us to give a family to children who, for some reason have lost their parental care or are in risk of losing it!!!
Genaro Moreno Espíritu
Social Project Huancayo
SOS Children´s Village Perú