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Christmas in SOS Children’s Villages around the world

SOS mother Sarah and baby Tidi
SOS mother Sarah and baby Tidi

Children living in SOS Children’s Villages in many countries celebrate Christmas, but often in very different ways. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in South Africa, Bangladesh and Kenya.

South Africa

Children from SOS Children's Village Ennerdale will be hot, as Christmas falls in the middle of summer in South Africa with temperatures often soaring over 35 degrees. SOS mother Sarah looks after ten children at her home in SOS Children's Village Ennerdale, just outside Johannesburg. "Six of my children will stay with me for the Christmas holidays and the other four will visit relatives" she says. "For Christmas day we will have a specially cooked meal or a braai (barbeque), depending on the weather. If it is warm the children can go swimming after lunch and then in the evening we will listen to music and dance."

When she asks her children what they would like from Father Christmas ‘a bicycle’ is the most popular response. Baby Tidi, who came to the Village when she was just 18 months, would like a much cheaper gift. "Tidi would like a tea set” Sarah says “She loves to pour water into cups and pretend to have a tea party."

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country. However, at SOS Children's Village Dhaka, one of the fifteen family houses belongs to a Christian family. SOS mother Jhuma and her children celebrate Christmas every year and the entire Village join in their celebrations. The Village Director says "every year Jhuma and her family celebrate Christmas with joy, enthusiasm and religious rituals. SOS mother Jhuma decorates her house and gives it a new colourful look. On Christmas Eve the family go to church together and take part in a special prayer.”

On Christmas Day, Mother Jhuma invites all the mothers, children and staff in the Village to her home for a meal to mark the occasion. After the meal, the families go on a special trip, usually to the local cinema.

Kenya

In Kenya, a group of Children in Kenya volunteer on Christmas daychildren from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret decided to spend their Christmas with those less fortunate than themselves, by volunteering their time at a local children's home on Christmas Day last year.

The SOS children spent the few weeks before Christmas collecting food donations from their friends and family. On the day itself, they took a trip to the Eldoret Children's Rescue Centre and handed over the food to the children living there. The facility provides temporary shelter for street children and helps to reunite them with their families. The Director of the Centre expressed her gratitude on behalf of the children staying there. The children played games together and gave singing and dancing performances. Tobias, a child from the SOS Children's Village, gave a speech about how much they had enjoyed sharing what they have with others less fortunate.

Child sponsorship helps thousands of children to grow up and celebrate occasions with families of their own. Find out more about child sponsorship, and how you can sponsor as a Christmas present.

You can also support SOS Children at Christmas by sending a free eCard to your friends and family.