We are experiencing another summer and we wish to express our profound appreciation and gratitude for your relentless effort and contribution in ensuring that our SOS work goes on. We would also like to inform you of developments, which took place in the SOS Children’s Village Freetown, its affiliated projects and our country, Sierra Leone.
The SOS Children’s Village Freetown in the beginning of the year had 136 children, 66 Boys and 70 Girls and one boy was admitted in April, 2010 bringing the total to 137. Out of this number 134 are attending school and 3 below the age of preschool. The academic performance of the children is maintained overall with an 80% pass during the assessment tests administered by their schools. Extra classes for weak children and those in examination classes are organised. Promotion exams at all levels will be conducted in June to end the 2009/2010 academic year, in which we are hopeful that all children will be successfully promoted.
Internal trainings and counselling sessions were done to improve on the output of the SOS mothers and aunties. Five mothers were recognized and awarded by the National Association for long service and dedicated work to the organization ranging from 15 to 22 years. As part of our Mothers Day celebration, an outing to Bureh Beach was organised with all children, mothers and staff participating. They had a wonderful time together.
Within the period under review, the Children’s Village was engaged in making stronger partnerships and more viable friends to build a network of local friends and partners. Identification of seventy children who will be members of the Mail Box Club has been done, awaiting a date to be fixed for the launching. SOS Children’s Village Freetown continues to build common approaches on child related issues by having several meetings with Child Welfare Organisations including UNICEF and partners.
Family Strengthening Programme
The Family Strengthening Programme in Freetown and Bo continues to make steady progress in Sierra Leone as many deprived children and families today are supported under the programme in the form of providing them with the essential developmental needs and capacity building. In Goderich, Freetown where the programme has been running for the past 3 years, we have seen a remarkable increase in the confidence of families and their children in the community. For instance families who were once skeptical about the programme and shy away from its activities have seen its benefit because of our continuous presence in the community and our sensitization. This programme has 124 families with 515 children receiving support presently. During the reporting period December 2009 to June 2010, the programme provided food support to 146 child beneficiaries, clothing support to 37 child beneficiaries, and rental support to 24 caregivers.
In addition, the programme built the capacity of 34 caregivers on adult literacy and basic financial management as a way to teach them on how to run their various business initiatives. For instance the families were taught on how to use the general ledger book to record their daily sales, costs, and profits. Other various business concepts like customer satisfaction, LIFO (last in first out) and FIFO (first in first out) were also taught to the caregivers. The programme subsequently gave 20 caregivers Income Generating Activity (IGA) loans as a start up capital.
SOS Home for the Physically Challenged, Freetown
Presently, there are twenty five children at the SOS Home for the Physically Challenged, Freetown. Ten (10) are girls and fifteen (15) are boys. Nine (9) youth were successfully reunified with their biological families in September 2009 and SOS continues to support them financially. Admission process is still on course to replace the nine (9) youths who went out. Four children who attempted the national examinations were successful; two youths gained entrance to university and two in the Junior Secondary School Level one at SOS International School, Freetown. Children enjoy viable activities such as birthday, Christmas and vacation sent off celebrations. The children continue to enjoy good health. They also benefit from good physio and occupational therapies provided at the home.
The school roll at the beginning of the year was 396. Twenty one of these are SOS children, 13 boys and 8 girls; 375 non-SOS children, 196 boys and 179 girls. The educational standard of the nursery continues to improve as there is a high demand of our nursery from the community. The academic year, 2008/2009 has been very good. Out of 148 children who took the entrance exams into primary school 143 had clear passes and were admitted into primary school. A graduation ceremony was held on their behalf during which the children were decorated with awards and certificates.
SOS Youth Home
The SOS Youth Home, Freetown continues to have 31 youths, 19 boys and 12 girls. Overall, 2008/2009 academic year’s result for all the youths was very good. One candidate took the West African Senior Secondary School exams and got a university requirement and another ten who took the Basic Education Certificate exams passed with excellent results. All of them are now in senior secondary school and university.
The School continues to run smoothly with a roll of 1061 pupils/students. 102 SOS children, (54 boys and 48 girls); 959 non-SOS (516 boys and 443 girls) with a very high standard of education. In the previous school year, 88 children took the previous National Primary School exams and we had a 100 % pass; 88 took the Basic Education Certificate exams and also had a 100% pass; 31 children passed the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Exams with 27 gaining requirements to university and the remaining were admitted into tertiary institutions.
We thank you so much for your unflinching support and concern for as all the above activities undertaken have been possible because of your support. We join the children in wishing you everything you wish for yourself and we hope to have you in our SOS family for a long time.