We would like to extend a very warm greeting from all the 134 children and youngsters who live in 13 families in our SOS Children’s Village Concepción, trusting that you and your family have had a wonderful year so far. We are very glad to inform you that we had an incident free 2011.
It is the time to celebrate the arrival of warm and sunny days and with it the longed Christmas time. At the beginning of December our families generally decorate the Christmas tree and the whole house, and plan the dinner. And on December 24 everybody participates in the preparation of the big event; the older kids help cook the dinner consisting mostly of baked turkey, different salads, and ice cream for dessert. The younger kids clean and prepare the dining and living room. About 10 p.m. it is dark outsides and the dinner starts with a pray and some Christmas songs. After the dinner, the families assist the Midnight mass in the nearby church and when they come back home, they open their gifts.
Just like every year we have had a lot of diverse activities that allow a healthy development of our children. In July, for example, we were watching the football matches of the America’s Cup 2011. The Chilean team was not among the winners, but indeed we had a lot of fun! Whole families sat in front of the television and many of us painted our faces while cheering for our boys. In August we celebrated the Child’s Day with a funny party full of balloons and games. Last year we wrote you about our first fundraising activity called Mate criollo. We are proud to inform you that this month we are having the second version! Mothers and children prepare typical food; a folklore ensemble will entertain our guests with Chilean music and dances and we hope to raise a good quantity to finance some projects we have for the coming year.
In this month we also celebrated the upgrading of Aunties Nancy and Susana to SOS mothers. And at the end of the year we will have to say goodbye to mother Marta. She is retiring after 31 years of dedicated work in our village and we all will miss her.
But not everything was easy. We faced a challenge as the secondary school learners and university students in our country went on a national strike for a period of several months demanding improvement in the educational system. Some schools had classes in other dependencies; but several youngsters were without classes for a long period as their school were closed. Especially in this time the remedial classes in our village, offered by students from local universities for basic and high school stage, gained importance.
The village is getting older and needs improvements and beautifying of some parts. We repainted our family houses this year. The children could decide the new colour by themselves and so we replaced the former brown one for lilac. The village looks now more cheerful and the houses are better protected against the rain.
In accordance to Chilean laws, the children are committed to the care of SOS for a limited amount of time and the family reunification with their biological family becomes the first priority. We work with the biological families of our children on a regular basis and are happy when they can return to them. This was the case of 6 children this time. During the year we gave shelter to 3 new children aged 2 to 10 years. Every time when a new child joins our village, the family prepares a welcome party with balloons, fancy dresses and a delicious dinner for the new sibling and tries to make him or her this big change easier.
Our Family Strengthening Programme, which consists of community outreach, provides two nurseries and supports 171 families and their children from our town. Unfortunately, children in our country are more and more suffering from obesity, also the very small ones. Therefore, this year we focused on healthy food. In a recreational way the children were taught about the importance of vegetables, fruit, milk, meat and cereals in their daily meals as well as about the importance of exercising. Most of them leave us at the end of December because they will enter the school next year, so we trained also their mothers in preparing of healthy snacks and explained them, among others, to understand labels on processed food and to recognize harmful components in them.
Without your unwavering support, SOS Children’s Village Concepción would not succeed in achieving our goals. On behalf of your sponsored Aldea Infantil SOS Concepción, all village children, youth, SOS mothers and other care takers, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous year 2012!
SOS Children's Village Concepción