In this end of the first semester of the year 2010, it is a great pleasure for us to share with you developments of the SOS Children’s Village of Bujumbura and the whole surrounding community. First of all receive our warmest greetings and our thanks for your support to the care of our children.
At the village level, the number of children is 125 of which 75 boys and 50 girls divided up in 13 family houses. The Village keeps supporting 4 children living in their biological families. In August we are going to take in 5 new children so as to reach its full accommodation capacity of the Village and the social investigations are already underway. Youth Homes are home to 155 youths of whom 74 boys and 81 girls. Among them, 43 are boarders at the SOS secondary school of Bujumbura. We also have 19 youngsters in housing looked after and 9 others supported in outside SOS homes. The Village also resettled 17 youngsters during this semester.
On the school front, we registered a 90.4% success rate in the first term against 86.3% at second for children living in the Village. For youngsters from youth homes, there was an improvement compared to the 1st term. Indeed, the success rate was 89.4% in the second term against 76% in the first term.
As far as blossoming is concerned, we organized a bazaar by joining the useful to the pleasant. Indeed, on May 8th, 2010, a bazaar was organized in order to raise funds for the equipment of the multipurpose hall of the SOS secondary school of Bujumbura that will be built this year by the Government of Burundi through Belgium Technical Cooperation. On this occasion, an exciting spectacle amazed children, Bujumbura SOS personnel and guests in gardens of the Bujumbura SOS secondary school.
During May, two youngsters developing and growing professionally to the very heart of the handball national team participated in the ‘Challenger Trophy ‘continental tournament regrouping champion teams of the different African continent zones. Our team represented 9 countries from the East zone. The aforesaid tournament took place in the Republic of Congo (Brazza).
On June 19th, the Village joined other associations working in the field of childhood in commemoration activities of the African child Day. It is normally celebrated every year on June 16th. Children from the community supported by the Family Strengthening Programme participated in the activities of the aforesaid Day under the theme ‘planning and budgeting scheduling and budgeting for children: our accountability.'
In the field of child rights, child rights protection teams were set up in our SOS homes. Children and youths themselves took part in the election of members of these teams. Besides, SOS co-workers were trained on the child protection policy and on code of behavior. Also, a study on child rights current situation in the SOS homes and in community of Family Strengthening Programme operation areas were conducted. It enabled the Village to know its strengths and weaknesses in aforesaid field in order to plan out strategies to improve child rights respect.
The Family Strengthening Programme is supporting 245 orphans and other vulnerable children living in 91 families. In order to enhance the capacity of guardian families to care for themselves, 9 families were trained in soap making techniques and 4 families have just received bank loans to start income generating activities.
SOS Nursery is training and supervising 178 children of whom 22 are from the Village and 156 from the community. Among the latter, we count 2 children receiving the award from the Family Strengthening Programmes. The SOS primary school is ensuring education to 492 pupils of whom 73 from the Village and 419 from the community one of them is an award holder from the Family Strengthening Programmes. The success rate went from 98% in the first term to 97% in the second term. Teachers took as policies to multiply exchanges with parents whose children have learning difficulties. As for the SOS secondary school, it counts 564 pupils of whom 161 SOS youths and 403 from the community including 2 children getting the award from the Family Strengthening Programmes. The school success rate is satisfactory that is 93% in the second school term against 90% in the first.
On the sporty front, children attending our SOS schools are among the best teams in interschool championships. Indeed, the SOS primary school came 2nd at the final of soccer ‘Espoir’ tournament, 2010 edition. At the SOS secondary school, the basket female team won the final of the interschool tournament whereas the handball female team was ranked 2nd at the same tournament.
In the medical field, an epidemic of measles has been declared in the capital and in the Bujumbura rural province. The SOS Medical Centre registered 31 cases of measles. Fortunately, the Village was safe from this scourge. To cope with, the Ministry of Public health organized an immunization campaign on May 11th to 14th. The immunization of children from the surrounding community of the Village took place within the SOS Medical Centre.
Dear friends, we would not finish our report without expressing you yet again our gratitude for your support that you unceasingly provide to our Village.
Damien Pasquet BARINDOGO