Please note: This report may have been written by someone whose first language is not English. We have left it largely unedited, as this is how a sponsor would receive it.
After the earthquake of magnitude 8.8 grades on the Richter scale affected Chile in late February, you are certainly curious about the latest news from our SOS Children's Village Coyanco in Quillón, which was near to its epicentre.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt and there were only material damages in the village, everything that can be repairable or replaceable. Some brick fences fall down and of course, much crockery got broken. Because of the strong and frequent aftershocks, the families slept in the first few days in tents on the sports yard. But every cloud has a silver lining: this bad situation made that the SOS - community got closer. In the first days we were without electric supply and because of the aftershocks nobody wanted to be under roofs, so we all ate outside together at a big table, played cards or other games. We talked a lot and the children loved to listen to stories of their mothers.
Since our village is close to Concepción, only 70 km far, and we had little damage, we were one of the first who could provide help to our SOS facilities in the immediate disaster zone. Concepción is the second most important economic centre of our country and the quake damaged it badly. We were very concerned knowing that there everything was hit hard by the earthquake. Next day after the earthquake, we organized the first aid: delivered them drinking water, flour and other food.
No doubt, this experience will remain long in our memory. But life goes on and we must look to the future. Although the aftershocks continue until today, the situation in the country has slowly restored to normal. The children go back to school. The school year started a little bit later this time because all school buildings had to be checked first. Three months have passed and we can see the first results. Some students are doing very well, other ones have learning difficulties. There are eight children who receive support from our psycho pedagogue. She monitors carefully their progress and enhanced their motivation.
We are very proud of one youngster, who received from the government due his good performance the so-called Millennium Scholarship. This allows him to study free electronics at a private institute. In two years, he should already have his title as a technician.
Of course, not only from learning live our children. We constantly seek for instances where they can develop their skills. We have a village football team. In this month everybody is watching the games of the World Cup in South Africa. We also support our children whenever they want to practice a hobby in the community. One girl is dedicated to athletics. She runs short distances. Recently she represented our city at the regional sports games. One of our boys plays cello and he is getting always better. He has travelled a lot with his youth orchestra and likes to tell about places he visited.
108 children and adolescents aged between three and 21 years live in our village at present. In first six months of this year we could offer a new home to a group of three siblings aged 3, 7 and 13 years. Some of our children are in the process of returning to their biological family, if this is able to improve its situation. We work with both parts, with children and their families. We are always worried that the relatives have the social and economic capacity to take care of their children. Six of these children could this year return to their biological families. Like every year we have celebrated the Mother’s and Father's Day and Easter. Previously, Easter in Chile was a purely Christian celebration. About 15 years ago, the custom of looking for Easter eggs spread from the northern hemisphere. We celebrate Easter in autumn. The days are short, it is cold and the trees lose their leaves. And our children look in the dry grass for eggs or chocolate bunnies. You'll find it perhaps a little funny. Of course we know that this custom is connected with the new life in spring. But we are glad that we have an opportunity to enlighten the damp autumn days with a little joy.
Dear sponsors, dear friends. We received from you in the past weeks much moral and material support. We could overcome the difficult situation. It is more: we could help many children and their families in our neighbourhood to stand up and continue with dignity their daily life.
Our enormous thanks go to all of you!
Director SOS Children’s Village Coyanco