It is a great pleasure to greet you again! First and foremost we want to thank you once again for your unconditional and generous support, which helps us to provide care and support for children who have lost, or who are at risk of losing, the care of their biological family, as well as giving them the chance to develop and enjoy growing up in a healthy environment, experience a feeling of security, love and respect and receive a good education according to their individual talents and abilities. This can be accomplished through family strengthening programmes or within an SOS-family. Family strengthening programmes aim to prevent children from losing the care of their family of origin. We empower families, to strengthen their capacity to protect and care for their children, and strengthen safety nets for vulnerable children and their families within the community. In cases where children have lost the care of their family of origin, we provide family-based care within our SOS Children’s Villages. Thanks to your support SOS Children’s Villages Argentina is nowadays helping more than 1800 children around the country through four family-based care programmes, twelve family strengthening programmes, two SOS nurseries and one SOS-School.
On this occasion we want to share with you the events and experiences of this year 2009 in the SOS Children’s Village Mar del Plata.
The SOS Children’s Village Mar del Plata
Currently there are 8 families living in the SOS Children’s Village, a total of 64 boys, girls and adolescents.
In March, the school year started and all the boys and girls began attending school. They attend various schools in the area, according to their level: kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and schools for boys and girls with special needs. Most boys and girls have extracurricular activities, such as swimming, soccer, skating, guitar lessons, folk dancing lessons typical of our country; as well as arts and crafts workshops, drawing, dancing and handicrafts. They attend these lessons with a lot of enthusiasm, eager to learn, have fun and make new friends.
We also have Youth Programmes. There are 11 youths living in the SOS Youth Community and 7 other youths are taking part in our Guided Living Programme, some of whom are still attending secondary school or tertiary level education; and one of them lives in Buenos Aires, where he is working and attending university. Out of these 18 young people, 8 are experiencing their first job, which allows them to take their first steps towards an independent, autonomous life in a not-so-distant future.
This year has been a very important one for our SOS Children´s Village, since the activities with the community have been on the top of our monthly agenda. These integration activities make it possible for the families to share common spaces and for girls and boys to develop and experience moments of great joy:
In January we had a ‘kite day out’, in which boys and girls were taught to build kites, and then, with the help of the SOS mothers and aunts, they were flown and the happiness of watching their “works of art” in the sky called for a big applause.
We have also been on camping trips, which represented moments of great fraternity and ecstasy for the boys and girls. Perhaps the most beloved moments of the summer were the regular visits to the town swimming pool, where both the grown-ups and the little ones enjoyed the beautiful days the summer in Mar del Plata offered.
Additionally, we have celebrated many birthdays, the most moving moments being the parties for the 15-year-old girls, a traditional special celebration in our country. Abril and Yanina wore gorgeous dresses and danced the waltz.
In August we celebrated Children´s Day by eating hamburgers and choripanes (Argentine sausage in bread) all together, with the presence of clowns and games like the bouncy castle.
Some boys, girls and adolescents travelled to Misiones and Corrientes to visit their biological families. From the SOS Children’s Village, we encourage contact with the families of origin, taking them as a strategic ally for the development of the boys, girls and youngsters of our SOS families.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the boys, girls and adolescents have been on various outings and tours to different sightseeing points in the city.
At this time of the year we are getting ready to celebrate Christmas and New Year´s Eve. The school year will be over and the boys and girls will be enjoying their holidays.
Family Strengthening Programme
The families taking part in the Family Strengthening Programme daily transform their social reality through the tools acquired through the work of SOS Children´s Villages.
The Family Strengthening Programme in Mar del Plata involves 316 participants –boys and girls from 0 to 12 years of age. Currently there are 4 SOS Community Homes (Las Tortuguitas, La Serranita, Las Pulguitas, Sol de Esperanza), 2 SOS Community Centres (El Colmenar and Saltamontes) and 2 Children Houses in a joint effort with the Gral. Pueyrredon Town Council.
Many Community Homes have turned one year old this year. Birthday and Children´s Day celebrations were organized with the Family Committee and attended by many families and members of the community.
In all the Community Homes, SOS Children´s Village collaborators and community mothers work daily carrying out activities for the psychosocial development of boys and girls, including learning and fun, thus complementing their compulsory formal education. Additionally, there are professionals in each space for children care supporting our tasks, in a joint effort with other institutions such as: tutoring, physical education, speech therapists, psychopedagogists and specialists in early stimulation. Community mothers and the members of the Family Committee get continuous training so as to be able to support and manage Community Homes and to provide a better service
to the boys and girls.
Our warmest regards,