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Child Sponsorship Report 2010, from Mthatha, South Africa.

Young smiling girls at SOS Mthatha
Young smiling girls at SOS Mthatha

A child sponsorship report from Mthatha in South Africa. Written in 2010.

Dear Sponsors,

Warm greeting to you, our wonderful sponsors. South Africa is currently a hive of activity and focus world wide as we receive and host international soccer fans, soccer teams and visitors during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 'World Cup Fever', has injected a wonderful feeling of unity throughout our nation. We have been encouraged to wear our soccer shirts on a Friday-this has been a great nation building exercise. Our children are also basking in the spirit that is flowing through our nation, and a new sense of pride and appreciation is springing forth for their country.

SOS Children's Village Mthatha has completed another period that was filled with excitement and successes. The strategically positioned children's village has developed from strength to strength since 2008, to become a child-friendly, caring and warm welcoming environment. Our community involvement has strengthened and grown. The active participation and involvement of our children and youth in decision making has attracted quite an interest from close neighborhood communities and from the neighbouring towns.

Our Youth forum, as affiliates to The President Award Programme has been very actively involved in community outreach programmes; touching the lives of child -headed families in the nearby community. This year, our President Award Youth began with home visits to the Child headed-families over weekends. They spend quality time playing with the children of the families and helping out with chores. The children really had a wonderful day. Some of the families are living in poor conditions including inhabitable unhealthy houses. This interaction acted as an eye-opener to all -we decided to embark on a very ambitious project: to build a house for one of the child-headed families. The village team appealed to our local donors to contribute to the development of the building of the new house. We were very fortunate to have a local civil engineering constructor who responded positively to our call and funded the building of the house. We truly salute the generosity of our local sponsors.

The ability of our Child and Youth Development team in organizing and facilitating Family days has had a positive impact in encouraging family members and relatives to understand the importance of hosting our children within family environments. This also helped them expand their understanding of SOS Children’s Villages as a charity and non-governmental organization.

Education is the key to the success of our village. Apart from the exciting results from our SOS Primary School, SOS Mthatha has produced learners, qualifying for the Distance Intervention Programme (DIP) to the SOS International College in Ghana. Two of our learners are currently busy with their DIP studies since 2009 and two have written an entry test to the programme.  This acts as positive motivation and to the rest of our children.

For the first time at our SOS Mthatha Primary school, a Soul Buddyz programme was launched. Soul Buddyz strive to promote independence and self-reliance among children. The Buddyz have started their helpful activities at the school. They have shown leadership skills.

The confidence that our children have, originates from our SOS Nursery. Our Nursery has good and dedicated educators who have taught tremendous inspiring skills to the young learners. Through educational excursions and field trips we have helped the learners explore the world around them and helped them, grew socially and cognitively. Our nursery also helped in the establishment of five Educare centers in the surrounding communities, through the assistance of our Family Strengthening Programme.

Our Family Strengthening Programme has done very well in supporting and training beneficiaries in the communities we serve. The five (5) self-help groups worked extremely hard, through the support from our Family Strengthening Programme. Two of the self-help group beneficiaries excelled in their gardening projects-they reached the stage where they produced and sold vegetables to local businesses and to their neighbors. Four (4) women are currently supporting community members and orphans living with HIV/AIDS with nutritious food to supplement their diets. In other groups, time spent working together in the gardens and the benefits of the produce are shared equally amongst the beneficiaries. We noticed that working in the garden also facilitates transfer of skills from caregiver to the child-an invaluable life skill. Our Family Strengthening Programme has a long list of families as beneficiaries.

During the World Orphan Week (WOW) our dedicated staff came up with exciting fund raising activities. A group of our SOS Mothers and some of the administration staff came up with a strange approach where they embarked on a fun office door-to-door campaign, for a day. They were singing and dancing, we had to pay them to stop. Amazingly, a sum of R790.00 was collected.

Child Protection has also become a very important aspect of our programs, with staff and children constantly sensitized through awareness programs of how to care and improve this important service. Important measures have also been put into place during the 2010 FIFA World Cup to ensure that our children are well protected and aware of the constant dangers that could be detrimental to their well being.

Our 2010 Annual Village Celebrations was blessed by the presence of the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Legislature. Proudly, the honorable Speaker pronounced that the SOS model needs to be replicated to the whole of the Province. The honorable Speaker was greatly moved and excited about the achievements of Mthatha SOS Children's Village that he requested an article based on the AVC proceedings be forwarded to the Provincial Parliament for their newsletter.

There are no words to describe the gratitude we have in our hearts. You play a large and significant role in saving the lives of our children living without parental care in our country.

Thank you very much.

Barrington Makunga

Village Director: Mthatha