Winter has come back to Da Lat city with the clear blue sky, the cold air and the brilliant sunshine embellished by the yellow wild sunflowers and mimosas. This Christmas is very special to us because we are going to celebrate our 20th anniversary on December, 26th. The period of twenty years is a long way with successes, joys and other things. We are so pleased to see our children, who used to be so small, so shy when coming to our Village years ago, have now grown up, got their jobs and had their happy life of their own with their children. And many generations after them have grown up too. We always keep in our minds that we have always had your encouragement, sharing and support in our work during the last twenty years. We would like to express to you our sincere gratitude and our best regards for a Blessed Christmas together with a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010.
Cosy Home for many children
During the last 20 years, a great deal of children generations have been brought up and educated in this big house of love. We have been raising 230 children. Among them 105 children are living in 14 family houses and in the Youth House, 7 are studying at the Universities, 4 are studying at the colleges, 3 are having professional training, 1 is applying for a job, 42 are in the semi-independent programme and 68 are independent, 27 of them are married and are living happily with their spouses.
From the beginning of 2009 we have hold the wedding ceremonies for 5 children. Those ceremonies were so serious but cozy and filled with love. The children showed that they thought about their caregivers and their sponsors, who have co-operated to ensure their today happiness.
Club and Activities
The first of June is the feast day of our Village. We held a ceremony in which the good children and the children who have tried their best the last school-year are rewarded to be encouraged to learn better. Then our children can take part in the folk games instructed by the Village educators and the contests on chess, badminton, table-tennis and picture painting. We also hold various extra classes such as: chess, badminton, table-tennis, picture painting… so that our children can relax after a year of learning and can find their summer vacation more interesting and useful.
At the Mid-Autumn Festival, despite the rain in Dalat, we had our children to take part in many kinds of activities such as: the quiz about Mid-Autumn Festival, lion dancing, singing and dancing, team games and lantern parade. This year was very special because our children had a chance to attend the Children’s House, where they could meet their friends and watch a performance about the history of Mid-August Festival and its characters: the Moon Fairy and the Moon Boy.
In our Village the majority is the secondary children. Many of them are good students for many years and one of them is the good student of the town and the province. Those from the ethnic group have less difficulties in studying due to the mothers’ and elder sisters’ and the village educator’ s daily attempt to help. We also have good teachers teaching the forth and the fifth pupils in the evening class to enforce the knowledge in order that those children can pass the graduation exam at the end of the school-year.
The graduation percentage at the primary and secondary level in school-year 2008- 2009 are 100%. We didn’t have any 12th form students last school-year. Besides, the extra classes during the summer vacation enable our children to develop their skills so that they often win good prizes when they take part in many kinds of tournaments.
Child care by Mothers and Aunts
All the mothers have been working here for 20 years. In the beginning of August 2009, with the approval of the Management Board of SOS Children’s Village of Vietnam, we recruited 2 new aunts thus the number of the aunties becomes 5. Two newly-recruited aunts had come for the training course for mothers and aunts in Ha Noi from October 25th through November 3rd.
SOS Nursery and SOS Social Centre
Up to the end of October 2009 the number of children at the SOS Nursery is 106, among them is one four-year old girl from our Village. The teachers at the SOS Nursery follow the curriculum required by the education department. The result of the check of the Nursery at the end of school-year 2008-2009 was good. One of the five teachers was good teachers and 4 teachers were advanced labourers. 100 percent of the teachers obeyed the teaching rules and regulations. The percentage of healthy and good children was 73.6%. The nutrition in each meal and at the SOS Nursery is guaranteed. Safe food is also paid much attention to. The result medical check-up at the end of school-year 2008-2009 showed that the percentage of healthy children at level A is 95.4% and at level B is 5.6%, no child at level C.
During the eleven months in the year 2009, the village doctor examined and treated more than 350 patients. Most of them had respiratory diseases. The children from the Village and SOS School also had frequent dental check-ups in the social center. Each of the children at the kindergarten has two medical check-ups annually and is often checked with his or her own growth chart.
Family Strengthening Programme
It has been more than three years since we started this kind of programme. At the moment six of twelve towns in Lam Dong province with 242 children (101 boys, 141 girls) are involved.
Compared to the amount of August 2009, 8 children were removed from the list because 6 of them stopped learning, one of them came to live in the Social center of Lam Dong province, one of them was over-aged. Most of the children receiving the financial support from the FSP are the orphans who no longer have fathers or mothers or both and their families are too poor. Besides there are some children who are not orphans but come from broken families, or their father or mothers went away when they were babies thus they have to live with their relatives. Some children’s parents are handicapped, unable to work to earn their living. Some children’s parents are too poor to afford their schooling.
After receiving the allowances from the FSP, most of them have made a lot of progress. Many of them have been the good pupils for years. The percentage of good and fairly good pupil comes up to 50%. Only some children have to repeat the class due to their learning ability. More and more families have become aware of the importance of learning and pay attention to their children’s learning. The money from the FSP has brought certain positive results and helped to prevent poor children from giving up learning as well as helped children have better learning condition What is more, their parents also have had more responsibilities to check their learning and to encourage them to learn better. Especially, there is one girl in Dalat, her name is Do Thi Hanh Nguyen, being the beneficiary of the FSP since October 2006 and being the good student for many years. In the entrance exam of 2009, she was qualified to the University of Banking (26.5 pts) and the University of Pharmacy (25 pts). At the moment, she is at her first year in the University Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City and she is still be supported with the FSP with the permission of the Management Board of SOS-Children Village of Vietnam.
We have such difficulties as: some of our children aren’t good at learning, particularly the boys, but they haven’t tried their best and relied on their mothers and the educators or still prefer playing. Some grown up ones haven’t had good orientation about their careers, thus they quit their study or their job rather easily. We will try to let them have better orientation in the coming years.
The Youngest but the Best
In this Newsletter, we would like to tell you an account about an outstanding boy in our village. Anyone who has visited Ylang Ylang House at the SOS Children’s Village Da Lat will never forget a boy with big black eyes, fair complexion and a beautiful smile on his handsome face all the time. He is the youngest in the house.
His parents died when he was still very young. His brother and himself had to rely on his old and weak grandparents at first, and then had to live in the Dak Lak Social Centre. Being admitted into the SOS Children’s Village Da Lat when he was five, he rapidly kept up with the life in the Village. Reminding of his name, all the uncles and aunts in the Village think of a restless, active, mischievous and smart boy. Especially when the whole Village gathers, he takes part in all kinds of games with much enthusiasm and self-confidence. In spite of being the youngest, he tries to learn how to help his mother and his brothers and sisters with the housework such as: watering the flowers, clearing the dining table. He also knows how to pay attention and to show his considerations towards others by asking the right questions and giving a helping hand when in need. At school in his 3rd form he is a good, diligent and obedient pupil who sets a good example for his peers and enjoys to take part in the extra activities. He has been rewarded for being the good pupil during the last two years.
Once again, on behalf of our children, mothers, aunts and co-workers we would like to send you our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010!
Trần Văn Cơ
SOS Children’s Village Đà Lạt