Located at about 460 kms from the capital city, Bangui, the SOS Children’s Village of Bouar launched its activities on October 1, 2009.
The afternoon was dedicated to the cutting of the symbolic ribbon of the Family Strengthening Programme of Bouar by the first lady, Mrs. Monique Bozize in the presence of the National Director and the Programme National Coordinator, co workers and beneficiaries of the Programme in Bouar as well as local authorities and numerous guests.
The cutting of the symbolic ribbon was followed by a visit of the offices. A summary of the activities of the Family Strengthening Programme was made by the National Coordinator to the First Lady who was very impressed by the achievements. Dressmaking and blacksmith products made by the young girls and boys of the programme were presented to the first lady who encouraged them to go ahead.
The village is made of three distinct blocks:
- The village includes 12 family houses for a total hosting capacity of 120 children, an aunts’ house, a guest house, the director house.
- The SOS Medical Centre is also functional.
- The Academic institutions include the SOS school of a capacity of 120 seats the library and administrative offices.
The Village is composed of 21 houses. The remaining part will be used for farm and market garden activities to which the village children will be initiated.
The administrative opening took place on October 1, 2009. The administrative staff and the SOS mothers and aunts were settled in their functions. All the children and their parents/guardians living in Bouar were first of all gathered at the Family Strengthening Programme office before being transported to the Village. The rather well dressed children were welcomed by joyful shouts, songs, traditional dances organized by the SOS mothers of Bouar in the presence of the national Director and the staff.
A total of 73 children aged from 7 months to 7 years including 33 girls and 40 boys entered the village. They were then divided between the 12 houses, which is 6 children per house.
The children were immediately cared for by the the SOS mothers who led them to the conference room of the Village where sketcheouis, songs and traditional dances were performed by SOS mothers accompanied by the national pedagogical advisor; When the children were divided between the family houses, each mothers identified her children according to a list established in advance.
Then, came the moment of separation from the parents/guardians; that was a moment with full of emotion for everybody. Some children wept a lot because they did not want to be separated from their parents. They were consoled by their SOS mothers, those who were marveled by the setting admired the houses, the rooms, beds and shelves that were presented by their mothers. The youngest child named Ada was ten months only. He was cared for immediately because he coughed and also had malaria, this orphan boy used to live with his father in Bouar at 2 kms from the SOS Children’s Village. As his father could not care for his two children, Jean and Edwige, he preferred to leave both of them to the SOS Village.
On arrival, some children were suffering from malnutrition; others had ring worms on their heads or wounds on their bodies, but most of them had a cold, coughed or bronchial inffections. But as soon as they had arrived the first cares were provided by the mothers before they were sent to the hospital for the first tests and medical cares.
Today the village is full of the children joyful, shouts, games and songs. All the boys had their hair cut before the classes started while the girls had their hair done by their SOS mothers.
The New Village Director named Mrs. Narentinoudjou Vinaha and most of the SOS mothers did not encounter many problems with the children because they are young and easy to educate. But there were some problems related to the health condition of some children who were sick and the mothers had to take them to the hospital, which prevented them from organizing the work in the family house. For the mothers, the most difficult thing is to make trust prevail since the beginning, to reassure them that they are welcomed in the house. “Then, one could distinguish what is good from what is bad and everything will be ok”, said one SOS mother.
Dr ISSA GADENGA Armand