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Child Sponsorship Report 2010, from Gabu, Guinea-Bissau

Child from Gabu, Guinea-Bissau
Child from Gabu, Guinea-Bissau

A child sponsorship report from Gabu in Guinea-Bissau. Written in 2010.

Dear Sponsor

Please kindly share with us some information about the village which sponsor you for some time, stressing  that your generous contribution has allowed up to this date, a roof, well-being and good education for our children in need.

In Gabu SOS Children’s Village, we have a total of 109 children aged 0-16 years, including 61 girls and 48 boys. Each family home has nine children. We prepare 9 boys for their future transition to the Youth Home in Bissau next September.

Twice a month Gabu Village staff organise a meeting with children, along with the Mother Counsellor, the Village Director, Youth Leader and Social Workers to discuss youths’ transition plan, counselling sessions on the rights of the child, forced child labour, hygiene care, health, pregnancy, HIV and also to raise older youths’ awareness about their stay in the village. Extracurricular activities are also conducted once a month involving children taking part in dance contests, questions and answers, competitions between houses or between students from different classes. A group of Village youths that practice handball participated in Easter celebrations and held a meeting with community youths from Bafata Region, drawing nil-nil.

SOS mothers also meet once a week to discuss how the Village’s functioning and its current situation, daily work in each family house and behaviour vis-à-vis their children with a view to avoiding physical and emotional abuse.

SOS mothers take adult literacy courses, language courses in Portuguese, and mathematics classes. They also learn, dyeing, sewing and other skills. Once a week they practice sports with the village gymnastics teacher to fight stress. They also organise picnics to allow them to consolidate their relationship.

Forty seven SOS Gabu Children are members of the Region’s child parliament. They regularly meet other community youths from Plan International and AMIC. Every fortnight they convene to talk about children's rights, hold debates and organize cultural events.

The 2009/2010 school year went well. We have forty children enrolled in two different SOS School in Gabu. Four children from Gabu SOS Primary School failed last year and had to study the same grade this year. Remedial courses are conducted every Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning for children with low school grades. During the first and second terms we had 9 children, 3 in second grade, 3 in fifth grade, 2 in 7th grade, and 1 in 8th grade had excellent marks and are listed on the Village honours league with their respective pictures displayed.

Carnival is celebrated every year in February for 4 days. People dress up in various different manners and disguise themselves wearing traditional attire and masks. The NGO Plan International organized this year’s festivities for Eastern children in Bafata, a town 50 km away from the village and the 15 children selected from our Village participated in the parade dressing for the occasion. This year they came in 5th place, winning radio sets as prizes for their performance.

A seminar on sponsorship was held last March involving SOS Mothers, Aunts, and Village staff, in collaboration with the Regional Sponsorship Coordinator.

A foreign parliamentarian visited the Village and offered second-hand clothing, balls and school supplies.

A programme of holiday activities has been prepared for young children in July. Girls will learn how needlework and cloth dyeing in conjunction with their mothers. On the other hand boys will learn how to make drawings on gourds, weaving rope to decorate vases and dyeing. An agricultural programme has also been designed whereby SOS children and mothers kill grow groundnuts, cassava, maize, and sweet potatoes.

A two-weekly programme of visits to our children’s biological relatives is organised to take place next August, aiming at allowing our children to remain in contact with other family members.

We thank you again for your kind and generous contribution and avail ourselves of this opportunity to present to you our Village’s best compliments.

SOS Children's Village Guinea Bissau