Dear sponsor and friend,
We are glad to send you the greetings of the children and staff.
As we are almost at the dawn of a new year, it is the right time to reflect on what have been our achievements and challenges during the year. First of all, our general feeling is that a tremendous work and an enriching experience has been realised due to the effort of everyone and thanks to the contribution and encouragement of our supporters. We hope that you are doing well and have received our previous letter which we sent you a few months back. In this letter, therefore, we will only highlight the main activities of 2011 and give you recent news about us.
There are 94 children at SOS Children’s Village Beau Bassin, 41 girls and 53 boys. Most of the children are now adolescents. In fact, there are 23 children up to ten years old and 35 girls and 36 boys between ten and 20 years. All the children are attending schools or vocational training.
As you may know, education has been one of our focal points during the year. In our last letter, we talked about the effort made by the Social Workers and SOS mothers to place children in schools which are most adapted to their needs. The schools have now evaluated the children and we are pleased to observe that many children have started showing interesting progress, although we know that it will take some time for them to attain the expected level. Nevertheless, we are confident that the children will eventually do better as they have been receiving all the necessary teaching aid. The teachers of our remedial classes have done a good job during the year to give individual attention to each child. We are happy to see that each child has progressed at his or her own pace. We are thankful to the effort of each and every one at the village namely, the volunteers, the SOS mothers and the educators.
The school year is already over now and the children are enjoying the long December holidays. Together with the children we elaborated a school holiday programme. We tried to balance the recreational activities with some educational sessions to help the children keep in touch with their school work.
Among many other activities, we organised Information Technology sessions for children aged ten to 14 years old with the support of the National Productivity and Competiveness Council (NPCC). It was amazing to see how quickly the children mastered the programmes. We also had film shows and discussions organised by one of the remedial class teachers. Besides, one of our regular volunteer organised special reading sessions for different age groups in the village library. Other activities included a cookery workshop, modelling sessions, outing at the beach and talks, just to name some. Obviously, the children preferred the day at the beach. They did not want to come out of the water and they were so unwilling to return home although it was late in the afternoon.
The SOS Nursery is continually improving its capacity in providing a better environment for children. In 2011, SOS Nursery Beau Bassin introduced new pedagogical activities such as Tai Chi and English for pre-primary pupils with the support of British Council Mauritius.
Easter 2011 has been really memorable for SOS Children’s Village Beau Bassin as our children experienced something special – the making of decorative chocolates. 16 children attended a training organised by a five-star hotel namely, The Grand Mauritian situated on the Northern coast of the country, where they were initiated to this special type of sculpture. Their chef-d’oeuvres were so lovely that the children hesitated a lot before sharing and eating the chocolates.
In 2011, twelve SOS mothers from SOS Children’s Village Beau Bassin received the SOS Children’s Villages Ring of Honour in recognition for their long service and dedication to children. These SOS mothers have served for more than ten years and brought up two “generations” of children. In fact, more than a decade ago, these women decided to dedicate their life to the children, sharing in good and bad times. The Ring of Honour also symbolises the appreciation of the challenging and rewarding task of an SOS mother who is bringing up a child, like her own, and helps the latter to become self-reliant and a good citizen.
SOS Children’s Villages is committed to creating and maintaining a caring and protective environment which promotes its core values, prevents and addresses child abuse and exploitation. To ensure that a best possible quality of service, based on child rights is delivered, we continue to focus on the implementation of the SOS Children’s Villages Child Protection Policy (CPP). We are thus, implementing smart actions in terms of sensitisation and training for the prevention of child abuse. The implementation of the Code of Conduct in all SOS Children’s Villages is a big step that contributes to child protection.
Taking into consideration that child’s rights is an important aspect of our work, a half-day workshop was organised in June 2011 by the Ombudsperson for Children to promote Child’s Rights among our children and staff. During the workshop, a DVD was presented and we were pleased to see SOS children being the main actors in the film. The children enjoyed it and they were really interested to see their friends passing on the message about the rights of children. It is good to know that Mauritius is one of the few African countries to have an Ombudsperson for Children as a Constitutional post.
On the occasion of the celebration of the International Short Film Festival in Mauritius – Island Courts 2011, sponsored by the French Institute in Mauritius - SOS Children’s Village Beau Bassin participated in a workshop in September 2011, on the use of digital photography and techniques to produce animated films. 18 children under ten years worked on the project during two days. It was amazing to see how fast the children could learn and be able at the end of the day to produce small animated scripts. They were so proud to show us THEIR “short films”. Such activities contribute to boost the self-esteem of the children.
Dear Sponsor, we take this opportunity to thank you for the support which has enabled us to keep our programme so lively and the children join us to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012.
SOS Children's Village Beau Bassin