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Child Sponsorship Report 2010, from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Children playing in Pietermaritzburg
Children playing in Pietermaritzburg

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

Dear Sponsors,

'You can have the top stars to bring the attention, you can have the best stadium, you can have the best facilities and you can have the most beautiful project in terms of marketing and all this kind of thing. But if you don't win, all the work these people are doing is forgotten.'-Jose Mourinho

SouthAfrica 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 our country.

It is that time of year when we suddenly notice that the days are getting shorter and it is much more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. The seasons have changed and winter is upon us. We are grateful for the opportunity to inform you about our stunning SOS Children's Village Pietermaritzburg. 2010 started off with a bang with the celebration of WOW (World Orphan Week). It is a week that creates an awareness of the plight of orphans world wide. The Donor Liaison Officer held a Sponsors Tea as part of the celebration. Companies were also involved in the
celebrations where they collected money for the SOS Children's Villages and had a lot a fun at the same time. The village had theme breakfasts and dress ups at work.

Our Annual Village Celebrations was held on 27 March 2010. We were pleased to have Mr Karabo More and Ms Leigh Swartz to represent our National Office during this celebration. Long-service certificate awards and Donor Appreciation Award certificates were handed out. Our guest speaker, the energetic and brilliant Racheal Rosentals-Thresher, inspired the crowd with a wonderful and motivating
presentation. Our children were given an opportunity to showcase their talents to a very appreciative and responsive audience; Michael Jackson impersonator, local traditional dancing and modern fusion dances. We are very proud of their skills.

In February, our Sarafina dancers attended the celebration of Valentine's Day that was held at Sunlit Gardens. The event was organized by the Pietermaritzburg bikers club in Kwa-Zulu Natal and our children performed very well. Among the speakers was the Deputy Mayor of Msunduzi Municipality and a Prosecutor who spoke on a subject very close to our hearts-Children's Rights. At the end children received big packets of goodies that were filled with cosmetics, toys and stationery. It was a fun day indeed. The scouts went on a 3-day camp to Lincoln Mead, a local campsite, in March. Eight children were able to attend the camp. They competed against the other locals scout clubs and participated in obstacles courses, setting up camps, knot tying and building fires.

The Easter Holiday programme as a whole was successful. The children and youth played indigenous games [eg dibeku-where the children run around and one person would hit them with a tennis ball and they are out] and watched movies while eating their popcorn and washing it down with delicious juices. The highlight was the Easter-egg hunt which they thoroughly enjoyed and could not stop hunting the whole day. Easter eggs where placed all over the village and the children were excited at the hunting process.

Networking with other local organizations has continued smoothly. Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness [PACSA] and the Young Men Christian Association [YMCA] invited our children and youth to the launch of the Youth-zone, [Y-zone] where they were work-shopped on life skills, financial skills and HIV/AIDS. Children played soccer and the young ones received special care in the 'kids zone' e.g. face painting, jumping castle, etc. Twenty five children attended the YMCA function.

We also appreciate the generosity of the local pastors from the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary who render voluntary services to our children and youth. They visit every Thursday in the afternoon . The Pastors play soccer with the children, assist them with their homework, as well as pray with them.

The Big Brother/Big Sister Programme did not function very well this trimester due to financial difficulties they were experiencing. We were able to prepare our children and SOS Mothers who are on the programme, although they were disappointed, they understood the situation.

The SOS Nursery reopened on the 11 January 2010. The school is running smoothly with the teachers following the age-appropriate curriculum. On the 29 and 30 of March the SOS Nursery facilitated a Teacher Training workshop, over two days, with the teachers from our adopted crèches -beneficiary of our Family Strengthening Programme.The workshop was very informative as it covered
information on lesson plans and the Early Childhood Development assessment standards and a course on financial planning and management.

The Family Strengthening Programme team is working very hard to take care of our beneficiaries. They continue to strengthen families through life-skill programmes, distribute food and clothing parcels to 45 families, provide school uniforms to 14 families and ensured that the transport costs were covered for 12 children. To help combat the lack of electricity in some of the homes, approximately 45 litres of cooking gel was purchased-it is also much safer than using paraffin stoves or heaters. Our local Department of Health helps us with regular contributions of nutritional porridge and disposable nappies for the chronically ill beneficiaries. Loaves of bread are distributed once a week.

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.

Let us earnestly pray that this year be the happiest and most prosperous for us all. Thank you very much for having the vision of caring for our vulnerable, orphaned and often abandoned children in our society. With your continued support they have a home at SOS Children's Village, Pietermaritzburg.

Yours sincerely.