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Child Sponsorship Report 2011, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Child Sponsorship Report 2011, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

A child sponsorship report from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. This charity report is from the end of 2011.

Dear sponsors,

There are 150 children and 62 youth in the Village. Mothers and children happily welcomed 8 babies and toddlers among 21 newly admitted children during the course of the year. They are adorable and have all adjusted well into the Village life.

Summer days are back and everyone is enjoying the warm weather and looking forward to swimming. All children are generally in good health and those on Anti - Retro Viral (ARV) drugs continue to adhere to drug intake as they also partake in support group meetings and counseling sessions. Family gardens are well tendered, they complement the main Village Nutrition garden which is currently thriving with carrots and leaf vegetables. The Village scenery is quite beautiful with different flowers blossoming everywhere.

The education committee continues to engage children in educational activities which include organized study times and computer lessons. The academically challenged children are supported through extra tuition at school and in the Village. These later pursue vocational courses like metal fabrication, garment industry, hotel and catering, hairdressing and motor mechanics in the local vocational colleges. Currently there are twenty - seven youths in these colleges and most of them are on job attachments in their various categories.

Through our rigorous study programme, we have realized positive results as we sent three more children for studies to SOS Herman Gmeiner International College in Ghana last June bringing the total number to ten. Two children who passed Form Four have proceeded with their studies to Advanced Levels (Form 6). We are also proud to announce that the village will be sending seven more youths to different universities in South Africa and one in Ghana. Last April three youths graduated from universities in South Africa, Ghana and USA respectively and two of them have found jobs.

SOS Nursery Bulawayo

The Nursery has 148 children and 25 of these are family based care (FBC) children. Eight of these children proceed to formal education in 2012.

SOS day was celebrated with soccer played with a neighbouring early childhood development centre.  We also held a mock wedding with the majority of the participants being the FBC Children. We held a successful Child Protection Workshop combined with other nursery schools.

One of the activities that the children enjoyed most was the educational trip to the Grayville Farm for pony rides and they also visited Environmental and Wildlife centre in Matsheumhlope. As a way of highlighting the dangers of fire to our children we invited the Bulawayo Fire Brigade to conduct fire drills. We are very pleased to have won a prize for the best friendly early childhood development facility in the Bulawayo metropolitan province.

SOS Family Strengthening Programme

Programme enrolment is currently at 1505 children for family strengthening programme 1 and 533 children under the Austrian development agency (ADA).  The 3 social support systems namely the school, the Community Based Organizations and the family, are complementing SOS FSP efforts. This is being done through running of school projects whilst Community Based Organizations are engaged in the various income generating activities. Families are working very hard to ensure that children are in school and accessing all essential services. The family as a social support system continues to be empowered through business trainings and startup capital in various projects such as poultry and candle making.  Through capital support, 123 families are now in business and 279 families are involved in dry land farming.  The facility continues to ensure that social support systems are working towards taking over the responsibility of looking after orphans and vulnerable children in their community.

The annual sport gala for 2011 was hosted by the SOS Bulawayo FSP and participants were drawn from all the 3 SOS Locations, i.e. the Bindura, Waterfalls and Bulawayo FSPs and FBCs.  The Gala attracted key partners like Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council and Population Services (PSI) who were providing educational and entertainment sessions

Currently the FSP is enjoying the cordial relations with the Bulawayo SOS Primary School in improving the Grade 7 results and provision of swimming lessons to the FSP children.

SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School

Our enrolment this year remained at 793. The staff compliment has also remained stable at 53.

2011 was a year full of achievement and rewards especially academically. In the 2010 Grade 7 results, the school scooped 6 certificates. The school was identified in a district of 38 schools as a very child friendly school that upholds the best interest of the child. In spite of these successes, the school needs a bus to transport pupils to and from sporting venues. There is also need to construct a car park to ease congestion during drop off and pick up times.

We continue to work together as a location in spite of all the challenges. We are sure we will look back and be proud that with your support we did the best in a difficult time for the children of the world.

Yours Sincerely,

SOS Children's Village Bulawayo