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Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Ibague, Colombia

Sponsored child from Ibague
Sponsored child from Ibague

A child sponsorship report from Ibague in Colombia. Written in 2009.

Dear friends:

Nowadays, we are writing to you as usual we do every six months in order to share with you news in our daily activities like an Organization that work for families in Ibagué – Colombia through the SOS Children’s Village and the SOS Social Centre Juan Pablo II. This second third term of the year shows progresses that give a new guide to address our work toward children protection inside a cosy family environment. Receive our sincere feelings of gratitude for your contribution to make this programme a real fact.

In this way, we feel happy to tell you that Ibagué city has been chosen like a pilot programme, together with two programmes more in Latin American, to lead the model of children’s development, called Programme of Children’s Development, whose policy is –Putting the child First-; it means that our focus is on the girl and the boy and they must be the protagonists of their own development processes. So, both strategies lines the family based care programme and the Strengthening programme are merged in one programme.  It means that we will go beyond the action field we are covering now to carry out a hard work toward biological families of all girls and boys welcomed in the family-based care programme and of course continuing working with families of the SOS Social Centre. We are on a transition period from a two structures of the programmes to one structure between May and October; until now, we can say that just one director has been appointed for both programmes and we need to rebuild description of positions and responsibilities for all the co-workers indeed. Doing this task, there is a team working that consists of two persons from the national office and three persons from the programmes.  We will tell you progresses of this experience by the next report.

Strengthening a Community

We are implementing a new work strategy in the family-based child care programme that has been highlighted at national level. The community of SOS mothers and aunts is divided into groups according with their living place at the SOS Village. So, they are called neighbor groups, where they receive support and assistance of a pedagogical co-worker of the programmes. The purpose is joint efforts of mothers and aunts to support eachother in solving common family situations based on their own experience through creating community proposals useful for everybody; also, they lead the organization and development of celebrations and main activities for the programme. Moreover, they plan meeting and entertainment activities among families to strengthen family, brotherhood and labour bonds. This idea has been well accepted by the SOS mothers, who have designed a monthly meeting agenda where the pedagogical co-worker must be present.

A Party in Luzma’s Honour

By the previous report we told you about Luzma’s retirement.  Luzma, the first SOS mother in the SOS Children’s Village Ibagué, who is retired since December 2008, was recognized with a celebration that we will describe to you as follows. It was an especial and emotional farewell where all their colleagues and friends participated. We offered a delicious dinner, a power point presentation with slides showing pictures where Luzma was during her 23 years like SOS mother. This time made Luzma to bring memories from the past, near her sons, daughters, colleagues, friends and sponsors from Germany, Norway or Sweden who visited children during these 23 years.  Then, we told her some thank-you words on behalf of the organization and her big family. Later, she received a romantic serenade with song regarding mothers and women, when Luzma and most of the persons could not blink back tears.... Some minutes later, the SOS mothers gave her a hammock (is a fabric sling used for sleeping or resting while suspended above ground). It was hand-woven by the best weaver of the Atlantic coast; it was given like a symbol of time to rest Luzma will have during retirement. Luzma told us good bye but a remarkable print will remain in our hearts.

We hope the above information could give you an idea of our daily work in the SOS Children’s Village Programme which believes that child development is best realised within a caring family environment. Thanks for your help we are able to get our vision: Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.

Your contribution is important to helps 829 girls, boys, teenagers and youths enjoy a family in six family-based care programmes and 3.098 children with their families being supported through the 16 family strengthening programmes that prevent children’s abandonment increasing in Colombia. These numbers are to say that SOS Children’s Village Colombia has grown from year to year like around the world after six decades from one SOS Children's Village in 1949 to 500 SOS Children's Villages in 2009.

Guillermo Vargas   
Director Programa de Desarrollo Infantil