Thank you very much for being our partner in the care for children by providing your valuable support! At the end of 2011, I would like to share with you our annual activities and the impact they have in the life of the children and SOS families.
This year 71 children inhabit SOS Children’s Village Dren. In September 2011, nine children moved to the SOS Youth Homes in Sofia to continue their education in high schools. In the mean time we accommodated new children and at the moment we have 64 girls and boys who need education and care.
As in previous years, the interest of the child protection departments in the two municipalities – Sofia and Pernik – towards the services which SOS Children’s Village Dren provides, increases. We had many suggestions coming from the departments for accommodation of children in need for parental care – much more than the capacity of the SOS children’s village. In Sofia the process of closing state institutions (de-institutionalization process) continues, which sharpens even more the need for a good place where children can be accommodated. Still the number of well-prepared foster families in the area is not sufficient and the authorities accommodate children in SOS as we were defined to be the best alternative family based care for children in need.
We continue to support the youngsters who study at schools outside of Dren and Sofia and live at the school hostels. Right now these are two children – one at the musical school in Kotel town and the other one at the specialized school for mountain guides and rescuers at the town of Cherni Osm.
In the SOS Youth Homes in Sofia we have 34 young people living and 29 are in the SOS Semi-Independent Leaving Program. There are four students who continue their high degree education in good universities.
In September we accommodated two natural brothers - siblings and two natural sisters and a brother – siblings at the age from 4 to 9 years of age. As it is almost impossible to accommodate siblings together in foster families, if we did not accommodate these children in the SOS children’s village, they would have been accommodated in state institutions and their proper development would have been seriously endangered. At the moment the children adapt successfully in the SOS children’s village environment, attend local school and nursery and we believe that their stay in Dren will be beneficial for them.
From the beginning of the year we have a second SOS family pair, consisting of two parents, who take care after six children. I hope that we will be able to increase the number of the family pairs in the SOS children’s village and thus able to respond even more fully to the needs of the children to have a loving family.
We continue to work together with the local school. During the new school year 2011 – 2012 we have five children with special educational needs for whom we take care jointly with the school to ensure and provide a resource teacher. Let’s hope that with the support of the resource teacher these children will be able to unfold their potential so that to be able to find a successful future realization after the care of SOS Children’s Villages.
The children having development problems living in the SOS children’s village are greatly assisted and taken care of by the village psychologist, an external psychologists and a speech therapist. The school self-preparation we manage to intensify with the support of three external teachers who work in shifts with the children in need.
Numerous are the activities of the children in their spare time – sports, arts workshop, language courses, crafts. The taekwondo successes continue this year again – two of the girls practice already in Sofia capital and during the summer they joined the national team for the respective age group. Almost every week they take part in competitions demonstrating their skills. Great interest among the children is also the horse riding which was offered by a horse riding club in Pernik town. Table tennis activities in Dupnitsa town are already a tradition, and hopefully we will be able to become partners with local representatives of the Football Club Inter from Italy. In this way we shall give another opportunity to our young talents in the field of football.
Now the children and the SOS families will soon start to prepare for the holy season. As always the older children help the SOS mothers with special dishes for the table at Christmas Eve. The atmosphere of Christmas is not only in decorating the SOS homes and the pine tree, but mostly within our human hearts and the light each one of us carries. On New Year’s Eve we go up hill, just above the Dren village, and shoot fireworks with the good hope of a generous and prosperous New Year to come – for us and for you – our sponsor!
SOS Children's Village Dren