From a very sunny Paraguay we greet you once again very near to the end of the year. 2009 has been a year of many comings and goings both in the country and in SOS Children’s Villages Paraguay. The political ground has not changed significantly. In fact there is a feeling of disappointment among Paraguayans, who feel left down by broken promises. There are many unsolved conflicts, scandals in the government and corruption. Regarding the economic situation, SOS Children’s Villages had to face some challenges as well. In the beginning of the year, all the programs, including those that provide service to many communities like the SOS School were in the search of local allegiances and support in order to cope with the difficulties.
On the other hand, amidst every crisis we can also find good and emphasize a greater social commitment from both the private and public sectors. An instance of this has been the important donation the organization received from a leader telecommunications company, who raised funds through a social campaign. Also, another company donated one toy per child on Children’s Day. This drew big smiles around all the 6 SOS Children’s Villages.
It is thanks to displays of solidarity mentioned above and people like you that we can say that the SOS Children’s Village Kuarahy in San Ignacio continues supporting 99 children and adolescents living in 13 SOS houses. We have 15 youths under the Semi-Independent Housing program. They continue progressing and assuming bigger responsibilities, approaching a more self-reliant life.
All of our children and adolescents attend primary and secondary schools at national institutions and other private institutions that provide specialized high school programs. These technical programs provide a high school technical degree to students, which is in fact very beneficial in finding good jobs while starting university. Currently, we have 4 youths finishing high school, two of them on Accountancy, one in basic sciences and one in Arts.
Moreover, the children keep up the same enthusiasm towards dancing. They attend classes with the now teachers Derlis and Martha. Classes take place at the SOS village on weekends. Martha and Derlis are youths living at the SOS village. They benefit from classes as well in the sense that they acquire leadership and teaching skills. A great accomplishment was forming a new group of 8 children who do Malambo dancing and tapping. A more advanced dance group formed by youths received several awards at a National Dancing Competition in the city of Pilar. The best dance groups from all over the country were present so it was both exciting and nerve-racking. This is the second time that our youths achieve this honor. It is for the whole SOS Children’s Village a reason of pride.
Derlis and Martha are not the only youths from the SOS village who contribute with their skills to work with children. We can mention Inocencio’s undertaking as well. He is already a physical education teacher and he carries out sports practices for the children at the SOS village, and the children from the nearby area. It is a great opportunity for integration between the SOS village and the community in San Ignacio. The sports are field soccer, indoors soccer, handball, volleyball and gymnastics. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to Inocencio’s training 5 children were able to start, in the beginning of the year, at two different soccer schools in the community. They compete with their teams at a national level, and by now they are completely adjusted to their practice schedules and games.
During the week there are choir rehearsals, Arp and guitar lessons. As you can see children have a variety of options to develop their interests and abilities. This helps them in many ways, to socialize, build up their confidence since they find their talents, and find discipline in dedicating to something.
On May 15th, mother’s day was celebrated as usual. The youths organized the event bringing a nice serenade to their SOS mothers, which after some years, it has become a tradition and the SOS mothers already expect it with enthusiasm. Then, the children stepped in and contributed by preparing lunch. It was a fun and nice day.
Also in May, the course on basic and international cooking ended. It was dictated by the SNNP, an organization working in forming and training individuals. We had new graduates this year, all of them with their hopes up to soon have opportunities to show their new acquired skills.
In June, children along their schools marched down the main avenues in San Ignacio, commemorating Paz Del Chaco (peace after the big Chaco war). Students in their uniforms carry flags and drums elegantly honoring war veterans.
In June 23rd, the SOS Children’s Village was colorfully decorated to celebrate the SOS Children’s Villages Day, which brought a surprise under its sleeve for all the children. The celebration was like a long and fun birthday party organized in collaboration with the neighbor SOS Children’s Village Panambí and the SOS nursery School. There was dancing, traditional food, and presents, which constituted the big surprise no one was expecting. Everybody got involved in the festive air and enjoyed along the children.
Other celebrations include spring’s day and Children’s day, which also meant a whole day of games, sports and competitions.
Besides the nice events, we consider important to mention as well other organizational aspects like the approach we have regarding professional assistance in psychology, pedagogy and neurology provided to children who need it. Therapies, either individual or group, are carried out at a community center. There are different dynamics and strategies depending on the age and stage of development of the children and adolescents. In addition, we now also count with a family based care management team to support and assist SOS mothers in providing proper care to their children.
The youth care co worker has the challenge of leading youths towards their start in the labor market, among other responsibilities. It is not an easy task since there is a shortage in job opportunities nowadays in San Ignacio. Nevertheless, the youths do not lack courage and determination. It is with the same positive feeling they have, that we can say that partly thanks to the cooperation of other coworkers at the SOS village, 80% of our youths were working either on regular jobs or internships by June. Although the percentage decreased to 60% by November, overall it has been a significant progress.
As it has been mentioned above, there were some difficulties for the SOS Mother Child Clinic due to the global financial problems. Nevertheless, these difficulties turned out to prompt significant advancement. Many allegiances and agreements of cooperation with the State and the Health and Social Ministry were possible. This allowed returning many job positions to co-workers; the clinic got funds to ensure the free service and the amount of beneficiaries of the service increased, exceeding expectations. The number of births, consultations and admissions grew as well as the general interest of the community in receiving medical attention and ensuring their children’s health.
Our dear SOS Children’s Village has picked up many happy as well as challenging experiences all through the past 12 months. But it has strived forward every time. For instance, another great contribution was that of the SOS mothers who developed saving projects to efficiently manage their resources as well as others projects of production to lower costs and expenses. They each started their own vegetable garden, quails’ eggs production; homemade detergent and soap which they use themselves or even sell.
Dear friend, we have reached the end of our annual report and we hope that we have achieved our attempt and through these words we have been able to transmit some of the joy of many events. In this way you can feel part of them too. Without a doubt we can say that in spite of having some setbacks common to the field of social work in general, the values of SOS Children’s Villages of audacity, commitment, responsibility and liability continue very much present in our work with the families, coworkers and you sponsors, who with effort and kindness continue supporting the ideal that every child is entitled to a family.
We thank you in name of SOS Children’s Villages Paraguay, the SOS families and every co-worker for your constant support and we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Hopefully 2010 brings blessings, happiness, love and peace to your lives and families!
SOS Children’s Village San Ignacio