We are very much pleased to send our heartfelt gratitude for your unreserved support to our children and facilities. May you have the merriest Christmas of all the years and a bright New Year ahead! It is also a pleasure to update you with major happenings in the village and its affiliated facilities.
The SOS Children's Village
Our village has continued being a home for many orphan and abandoned children. In the past few months we admitted twenty two new children whose ages range from few days to 6 years in place of those who got transferred to the youth facilities. Out of these, 13 of them are infants. Currently, the total number of children living in the family houses has reached 148. And we still want to admit two more children and run the village with its full capacity.
Volunteer scout team from Europe conducted TOT (Training of Trainers) and Leadership Training for the village scout club leaders in Bahirdar and Awassa towns. On the other hand 51 academically outstanding students were taken to the Children & Youth Theatre. They all found the show very interesting and they got valuable lesson from it. Besides, our village mothers attended various seminars on child care organized by CAI, Italian NGO and SOS Children’ Villages Ethiopia.
Peer study groups were established in the village and 40% of the village children are using the program to help them perform better academically. Accordingly, they scored promising results in their exams. Children who attended special class for entrance exam of IGCSE (International General Certificate for Secondary Education) went to Awassa (278 Km from the capital) and took the exam. One student has successfully passed the exam and joined the school.
The festivities celebrated at village were African Child day and Education day among others. African Child Day was celebrated in the social centre in the presence of teachers, community representatives, local administration and all beneficiaries of the social centre. The day also hosted a panel discussion on the topic “Accelerated Action for Children”, and “Africa Fit for Children”. In addition, Education day was celebrated in August 2009 and students with better performance in the academic year were awarded.
SOS Youth Facilities
Some of the major activities in the youth facilities are youth hearings and career and pre-college orientations. There is also an individual counseling for the youth. It's really exhibiting an outstanding result, and seven students have been awarded prizes for the changes they brought in their academic performance. During the long school summer break, the youth took short term courses and trainings based on their role on youth forums and child parliament. Moreover, they took three weeks training on General Auto Mechanics, Woodwork and Maintenance at the SOS Vocational Training College. On the other hand, two students graduated with undergraduate degrees, and seven students with college diploma. On top of that, except one graduate the rest are employed.
There was a welcoming celebration for the youth joining the youth facilities, and also, a farewell event was organized for the youth departing from the facilities to self support program (SSP). Besides, the young girls and boys at youth facilities had three days recreational trip to Awassa – Langano (resort area located 250 Km south of the capital) and they found it very refreshing. In another development, some maintenance has been made to the buildings in the youth facilities for boys.
Currently, the SOS Nursery has a total of 133 students of which 64 are from SOS and the remaining 69 are children from the surrounding community. During the last academic year, the SOS Nursery took part in a meeting which was organized by the local Education Bureau for nurseries and discussed on nursery curriculum and educational standards. The experience sharing programs which were conducted in a couple of kindergartens and primary schools were found to be fruitful. Additionally, teachers from Save the Children, who provide pre-school education in the countryside, visited our SOS Nursery with a theme of “Exchanging experiences and best practices on nursery education”.
On the other hand, SOS Nursery students had Educational visit at the Science Faculty of Addis Ababa University. The visit helped the students in understanding Zoology and identifying wild and domestic animals of the country. On the nurseries graduation day, June 27th 2009, 51 preschool children graduated out of which 43 were SOS kids. The day was very cheerful and the children were delighted.
SOS Vocational Training College
The Vocational Training College is working actively towards quality and enhancing practical skills of students. Recently the College is awarded with the ISO Certification on Quality Education. Moreover, Addis Abeba City Government Education Bureau gave a letter of appreciation to the college. From its 15 trainees 8 of them graduated in the previous season. Before their graduation, a special counseling on “Job Hunt” was prepared for the graduates. Besides, the Auto Mechanics workshop which was under construction by the “MAN” Company was completed. However, the Youth Hostel and the compound fence are still under construction.
SOS Social Centre
The SOS Social Centre is exhibiting its positive impacts on the community through its various community based services. Within the year the Medical section has provided its care for 2,137 children and 1,476 adults. Then again, under the School outreach program, the medical service has 168 beneficiaries in the neighboring community and 150 beneficiaries in the Community Extended Outreach Program. Moreover, by taking the responsibility of handling 194 children at the day-care centre, the SOS Social Centre has enabled many mothers to help their families economically. Besides, all the beneficiary children have got access to education and medical facilities.
Furthermore, 26 youngsters organized a sports team supported by the SOS Social Centre, and were provided with different sport materials. Additionally, 79 caregivers have been taking intensive trainings on different business areas and 49 of them already started income generating activities under one association. All the caregivers are saving money on a weekly basis and they have already saved 17,000 ETB. The caregivers applied to the local administration to establish a local bank and they are expecting approval and license.
Visit of Austrian Foreign Minister
Austrian Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger and his delegates made a visit to the SOS Social Centre and the Youth Facility for Boys on July 14th and 15th 2009 respectively. They were warmly welcomed by beneficiary children and families at the SOS Social Centre in the presence of the local government and community representatives, SOS Continental Project Director, Mr. Langhans and the National Director Mrs. Aster Asfaw. Dr. Spindelegger expressed his impressions on the visit and urged the fortified continuity of the programs being implemented, and presented a gift to SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia. He was also astonished by the cultural Ethiopian coffee ceremony he attended at the end of the visit.
Family Strengthening Program (FSP): is one of the major programs under the social centre. Through the program, we address 180 families and 373 children. Almost all students under the program scored good results in their education, and about 248 beneficiary students attended summer tutorial classes for better academic performance in the coming academic year.
Moreover, the FSP’s community committee has been re-established and is working actively. A three days training was organized for community leaders on “Fund Raising and Local Resource Mobilization”. Individual counseling and health education was also given by the SOS Social Centre for FSP beneficiaries and caregivers who need to test for HIV/AIDS.
As part of the psycho-social support given to the FSP beneficiaries and the community, the SOS Social Centre organized and sponsored a recreational and educational trip for 60 beneficiary children along with 60 community students to Lake Wonchi, recreational place 125 Km out of Addis Ababa.
Finally, we would like to say that things would never be like this had it not been for your wholehearted support. We truly appreciate your contribution. May you have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Rago Birru (Mr.)
Village Director, Addis Abeba