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Child Sponsorship Report 2010, from Bogotá, Colombia

Children from Bogota, Colombia
Children from Bogota, Colombia

A child sponsorship report from Bogotá in Colombia. Written in 2010.

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.

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure for us to share with you once again the progresses of the families in the SOS Children’s Villages Bogotá programmes. Progresses are the result of your contribution to guarantee a family that protects and encourages development of girls, boys, teenagers and youngsters who have been entrusted to the Organization.

Our children have vacations three times a year, from November till January, they have 8 weeks in total. They have 3 weeks between the end of June and the beginning of July and one week in October. We are going to tell you about the previous one: Most of the families went to warm towns two or three hours from Bogotá. One family went to a recreational park where the nine children enjoyed a lot! A child states: I was enchanted with the animals in the zoo, I liked monkeys and toucan mainly…there were also very pretty pink flamingos! After a walking around the park we ate a delicious lunch –Sancocho (a traditional soup made with almost any kind of meat, along with large pieces of plantain, papa, yucca and/or other vegetables). Later, we were playing at the warm swimming pool under a shining sun. We came back to Bogotá at night after a fantastic day! 

Urban Agriculture- A Communal Project

The SOS Children’s Village Bogotá has established partnerships with the District Botanical Garden to develop a project called Integral Community Unit of Urban Agriculture (UICAU) jointly with neighbor leaders of the community around the village.  Regarding this network, Carlos states: This is a very interesting group, were we learn to do investigation in agriculture, we learn to manage compost technically and we are learning to cultivate vegetables, strawberries and aromatic herbs which are consumed by the community. Everything we do is being aware of the environment protection. Moreover, we exchange ideas with people from the community.

The Youth at the SOS Children's Village

Regarding young people, we can say that 30 youngsters started the process of youth community at the end of April. They are in three youth homes and some of them decided to live this stage together with their family of origin. 28 of them are studying technological or professional careers.  We are very happy because most of their results are successful and day by day youngsters are convinced learning a topic is useful to have better possibilities to get a job and to be independent.

Finding a job in Bogotá is easier than in other cities of the country because it is the capital with factories, stores, banks, etc. and there are more job vacancies although most of them are temporary jobs for young people whose salaries are low and don’t permit a good quality of life. Nevertheless, 18 young people, among the above mentioned, are working at least half-time, doing formal or informal activities. Besides of not having offer of lasting jobs, some youngsters are not persevering because it is not easy for them to assume responsibilities. It means, a hard challenge for us, we need to treat this aspect since the little children at the village.

Strengthening Women

One of the reasons that women are disadvantaged is that they do not have equal rights in terms of education and training. SOS Children's Villages ensures that boys and girls get the same opportunities to develop their talents and values at SOS Children's Villages and Family Strengthening Programmes. Women are supported and encouraged to organise themselves, exchange opinions and receive further training.

An example of the promotion of women development is a 30 year old woman, head of family that consists of 5 children; she came displaced from the countryside. Four of her children make part of the Social Centre Cazucá.  She asked to the Social Centre to help like a community mother at the beginning of the 2009; the co-workers appreciated her leadership skills and promoted her to continue her secondary. She did not want because of her children, but the co-workers in the SC help her to arrange everything in order she could study. At the end of the previous year, everybody was happy because she graduated like secondary school graduate. The SC team considered that she was able to continue studying and encouraged her to be a Social Promoter in the SENA (National Learning Service); again it was not easy to convince her but some pedagogical co-workers were committed to teach her to manage a computer in order she was able to make her own homework or fulfill workshops and send them by email to the SENA.  She learned to do that very well and decided to start her technical career. Fortunately, she found a job in a hospital half-time what help her family, is doing also activities like a community mother and continues studying. Her four children are participating of the Social Centre and her older boy is responsible to pick them up in the afternoon meanwhile his mother arrives at home at 7 o’clock everyday.  It means she got self-confident, nowadays she is educated and surely she is educating her children in a better way and will be enough capable to guide their path in life.

It is time to the farewell words expressing our immense gratitude for supporting and backing our mission for strengthening more families where girls, boys, teenagers and young people be feel them listened, have active participation, be well-treated and be encouraged to develop themselves and get their goals. We invite you to continue your support to this programme as committed friends, like Mr. Kutin, President of SOS Children’s Village told all guests in his speech during the SOS Children’s Village Cali opening.

Kind regards,
Fabio Curtidor Argüello