It is time again you hear from us. We wish that you had a prosperous the year and full of successes. This year many activities took place at the SOS Children's Villages Albania. Trees got stripped of leaves and the children played with piles of fallen leaves, they would collect them, and cast them back up into air again. Plumes of smoke are seen to emerge from stacks and the cold and wind redden children’s nose and cheeks. All shows that the golden fall came to an end, and the long-awaited celebrations in December that every child has been looking forward for has come really close.
A year has passed, 6 of our youngest children, started first school grade in September and 8 are in nursery. This year 9 children from SOS were transferred to the SOS Youth Home. The transition from the village to Youth Community it’s not easy for them, but also for the SOS mothers and siblings. Youngsters know that is only a physical separation between SOS mother and siblings lots of tears are part of the separation, but this are also lots of tears of joy. Teachers of youth communities welcome and support them, but it is ever so nice to see them returning with impatience to meet their SOS Mother and siblings, just like a bird returning to its nest. They grow up, start walking towards the unknown, towards independence. At the youth home the youngsters develop close ties of cooperation for their development, even spiritual connection. In both SOS youth communities live 24 young people and other 27 youngsters are supported through the semi- independence program. According to the preferences and needs, they follow different courses like foreign languages, computer, car repairing, secretary, soccer, volleyball, sewing etc. Also through to the semi-independence program for young people prepared for their lives as adults. For this year we proudly say that 5 of our SOS youngsters have won scholarships to private universities, scholarships that will help them to move forward in life.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme is a project, which supports children who are at risk of losing parental care by strengthening families and by training in parenting. The project provides various support to over 230 different families. During one meeting in the project, a family shared that: "Thanks to the SOS Family Strengthening project support, we learned to see each other with love and respect and now we feel much closer to each other."
At the SOS children’s village Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were preceded by one of the biggest celebrations we had this year – the 15th anniversary of the founding SOS Children’s Villages Albania. Preparations began early, but in August the entire village was even more involved for organizing an outstanding celebration. All children were helping, and they became close friends with the two painters painting the village and were helping by bringing the buckets or paint. Drawings in the outer wall resembled more like a competition where all children were throwing ideas and wanted to draw. The rhythm of music, dance and variety of colors involved children in a real party with hugs, kisses and the gratitude of the children – all was so exciting!. The 15th anniversary of SOS was an endless pleasurable celebration. Our artistic program added even more excitement and having plenty of children performing, dancing, running and playing through the village. Also, one of the mobile phone companies in Albania presented a volunteer project to help SOS in various fields and to bring even more colors to the village.
Mother Teresa Day beautification was a feast day which offered plenty of surprises. On that day the inauguration of the reconstructed premises took place. All children at the SOS children’s village became part of the fun. "A different day" was dedicated to spending a day together with the children from SOS in repaired environments adapted to be functional and with quality to support their activities and entertainment. The children made a painting and a postcard on which they wrote to their SOS mothers: “From the heart: Thank you!, We are grateful for every hour that you spent with us. We are grateful for every hug you gave us”.