Our child sponsors receive twice yearly updates direct from their child's SOS Village. These updates offer a unique insight into life in a Children's Village, and let our sponsors see the impact of their support over the whole year. Here, we give you a flavour of the updates you can look forward to as a child sponsor.
Read updates from:
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - November 2013
Tanzania's capital until 2006, Dar es Salaam remains the country's largest city and one of its most economically important. Our Children's Village opened in 2006, and currently provides a loving home to around 130 children who can no longer live with their families.
“As we approach the seventh year of existence, SOS Children's Village Dar es Salaam has fully grown into a lively and overjoyed home in which 128 children from all over Tanzania share their everyday lives and grow together as one big family under a lovely care of committed and trained mothers and aunts.
Life in the Children's Village
As years go by, our children grow and we see some changes educationally, physically and emotionally. All of them are in good health. One of our boys got an opportunity to join the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College in Ghana and this makes a total number of 2 children who are studying in Ghana. A further eight children have completed primary class 7 this year and already attended different interviews for secondary education starting January next year.
During summer, our children were very busy participating in different activities. They got the opportunity to participate in community work, as they spent a day cleaning different areas around the community. It was indeed a great day, as they prove that they can if they are empowered and given a chance to make a difference.
To build our children's capacity the Village sent youths (boys and girls) to attend life skills training for a week in a certain special centres outside the Village, whereby they learnt different things, including how to understand oneself and coping positively with teenage changes.
They also went through counselling sessions, games and debates . They also attended Child Protection Policy training which helps them to be aware of their rights and responsibilities as children; not only that, but they also had an opportunity to review rules and laws that affect child's life within the constitutions. We believe through this training that they will keep on learning and grow to be responsible members of the community.
Our SOS Nursery
Throughout the year, our nursery has become well-known in the city, especially on the teaching method of Jolly Phonics which makes it easier for children to learn by using funny sounds, and gives them opportunity not to forget easily and know how to pronounce words in a proper way. Due to this, different schools around the city have been sending their pupils to our nursery for practical and learning. We are so happy for reaching this far and for changing lives of the Tanzanian children through a great foundation of education.
Our community programme
Our community programme is still on track and has been a right hand to the community since it started. This year, the programme supported caregivers through housing support, family empowerment, skill building and child participation. Through housing support, some of caregivers' houses and toilets were renovated. In family empowerment, caregivers were sent to vocational colleges where they took different courses which include hairdressing, decoration, and driving, as well as attending several workshops including Batik and Vikoi making. Through the skills gained, caregivers support their families and as a result, they keep on having improved and changed living conditions. The programme also conducted resource mobilization workshop to the community leaders in order for them to be able to mobilize resources to sustainable support for the most vulnerable children.
Further caregivers in the community have learned the culture of saving through the Village Savings and Lending Association, which has improved their lives and been able to support their children in accessing essential services.
Not only that but also partnership development has been strengthened by our community programme to both private and government institutions, especially on advocacy and gender related issues. For instance, through our gender programme, some caregivers attended the women national dialogue forum in Dodoma during parliamentary session.
On behalf of our children, mothers and staff, I sincerely acknowledge that all that we have achieved and reached have become possible and achievable because of your generosity .Kindly accept our sincere gratitude for being part of us and for your support.”
Puducherry, India - November 2013
The city of Puducherry is an important coastal city in India's Tamil Nadu province. The SOS Children's Village is situated just outside the city centre and was built following the tsunami disaster of 2004, and has provided new families for children with no one else since 2008.
They say when you do a good deed, you start a chain reaction of goodness which comes back to you. The cycle of karma is evident in the happenings around SOS Children’s Village Puducherry.
The celebration of Vinayagar Chaturthi
Among the many activities that were organized at the Village, Vinayagar Chaturthi celebration stands out this year as the children took active part in it. They made Vinayagar (statue of deity) with clay with our trainee Kavitha’s help. It was an eco-friendly exercise and was enjoyed immensely by our children. They also chanted hymns, and distributed prasadhams (sweets) amongst each other. “I love the festivals we celebrate at the village. I think our village has more celebrations than anywhere else and we learn so many things all the time. I love the gifts at festivals” says young Lalita.
A community story: Helping Chitra's family
SOS Children’s Village at Puducherry has stories of indomitable will and courage to share. Here is one of the stories of our success in reaching out to children from disadvantaged families in communities near the Children’s Village through our community programme. This aims to protect children from being abandoned and to support their nutritional and educational needs by enhancing the livelihoods of such families.
Chitra and her husband were daily wage workers in Casuarina field. After her husband passed away last January, life has not been the same. Survival for Chitra and her two daughters was at stake. Paying interest on a private loan of 10,000 rupees and gold mortgage created further trouble for her family.
SOS help stepped in to help them find a way to make life easier for them. Chitra and her daughters joined our community programme in June 2012 and their life improved. Two weekly visits by SOS workers regarding their Body Mass Index, the educational status of children and income generation through family development plans made them safe and secure.
Presently, Chitra has learnt how to develop Casuarina nursery on her own and also sell saplings: “We were saved by SOS. They showed me a new way to living and how to take care of my children too. I can live a dignified life now”.
Thanks to our supporters
This has been our bit in transferring the generous contributions of wonderful donors like you into concrete experiences for these children. It gives SOS immense satisfaction to see that our joint efforts and dedication have shaped the future of many children, and is helping them lead independent successful lives as others in the society.
Together, we are building dreams and turning them in to beautiful realities and also inspiring them to be as generous. This completes the circle of life and we are grateful.”
Bulnes, Chile - June 2013
The small city of Bulnes is situated in the agriculture Ñuble Province in central Chile. The area suffered a major earthquake in 2010, leaving nearly a fifth of people in the Ñuble region without a home. We have worked in Bulnes since 1969, and were a key force during this difficult time. This update was written by Tatiana from our national office in Chile following a visit to Bulnes.
“A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the SOS Children's Village in Bulnes, where I talked to some of our longest-serving SOS mothers. One of them told me that last Christmas was very special because it was the last time one of her older girls celebrated with them: it was time to become independent.
It was a day of mixed emotions, joy and sadness at the same time. There was special emphasis on decorating the pine tree, the house and making dinner. Santa Claus made everyone wait, and meanwhile, the children sang carols and thanked the chance to be celebrating together. Then they opened their gifts. As every year, there was a representation of the Christmas story around a large outdoor manger.
A change of season
The summer was very hot, and the kids enjoyed the pool. In the evenings, SOS Mothers and Aunts prepared for them sandwiches, cake and even iced coffee. Almost all the families left the village for a few days, seeking contact with water and nature.
'During February, we celebrated another anniversary', SOS Mother Odette told me, who has spent over 20 years in the Village. 'Nancy’s whistle that initiates the celebration, was heard in the courtyard. She graduated over 15 years ago from the Village, and spends two weeks of her vacation every summer organizing sports and cultural activities with the children and young people. Everyone looks forward to the now-famous Knowledge Olympics, almost as much as the sports competitions and recreational activities such as the treasure hunt or the recycled and natural fashion show, to name a few: Nancy is very creative!'
To the anniversary celebration are invited some young people that are already independent, they share their experience with children, becoming an example for the younger ones. Besides them, there are a number of people that don’t miss this celebration for anything and are always present.
Odette tells me that Nancy visits her on all significant dates, with her husband and two children. Likewise, Odette and her children participate in the birthday celebrations of Nancy’s family. Nancy left the village when she graduated as a preschool teacher and now is about to start her Masters, as she feels that it is important to keep her knowledge up to date and be better prepared for the time when she will start to train future educators to be in a room with little children. Odette is the godmother of her son.
I was excited to see how they have developed bonds that endure over time. There are so many stories shared by the mothers. Nancy is just one example of how, thanks to your support as a sponsor, and the love and effort of a mother, we all can make a difference.
In March began the new school year. The three university students continue having good results. Aracely studies in the city of Concepcion and travels to the Village as often as her studies allow her to, and wanted to tell her story.
'This year is my second year in college. I'm studying English Pedagogy. I love this profession because I want to relate to people, educate them, help them succeed and if possible, inspire them. I definitely want to be a teacher, but I want to work for a while on a cruise or at a company as a translator. Travelling is also a great part of my dreams. I know it will be rewarding because I love English. I am happy because I am fulfilling my dream.'
We are delighted to see how Aracely has worked hard and has surged ahead. Last year, she had excellent results, ranking fourth in her class.
A word of thanks
We thank you for your invaluable support, which makes it possible for children and young people in the village of Bulnes to develop all their potential, surrounded by a positive and loving environment.”
Tomilino, Russia - December 2012
Tomolino is a district of Moscow, located about 13 miles from the centre of the Russian capital. Though there are pockets of great wealth, many families in Moscow are so poor that they can no longer care for their children. Since 1996, we have provided a new home for many of these children.
“This summer, most of the children of the Village had the opportunity to rest in children’s camps in the Moscow Region and in the Ukraine at the Black Sea shore. In September, the children started the new school year being more healthy, stronger and happier.
This year, two little ones started school. Ivan and Polina, both seven years old, have become pupils in first form. Their SOS Mothers saw them off to school and introduced to their first teacher. The kids immediately made friends with their classmates – for them it was easier to adjust to the situation as they were together and supported each other. Ivan and Polina are very smart and hard-working and have learnt to draw, to count and started to study the Russian alphabet. The really do well at the lessons.
As to adolescents – four of them moved onto the SOS Youth Programme in Ljubertsy. Marina and Anastasia entered a college to study IT technologies. Sergej wants to become a mechanic and Alexandra entered a design department in the art college. This period of life is not easy for the youngsters as they have to get used to the mode of life on the Youth Programme and their new schools, but they are coping with this rather successfully.
The Children’s Village, as always, receives many guests – Village friends and volunteers who are happy to communicate with the children, to play with them and to organise feasts, show plays and hold master classes. The children just adore such events also because those people are Village friends for many years.
Here's a review of one of the Village friends, a ninth-form student called Artjom, written after a trip to the Children's Village:
'We have been preparing for the trip for a long time and finally the day came. On the bus, we left Moscow and spent an hour on the road. On the arrival to the Children’s Village we were shown the Village, the Family Houses and the office, and were guests of several SOS families.
As one of our goals was to entertain the kids – to show them the performance about Fedot the Archer (a funny play in verse very popular in Russia). Despite the small delays, we have shown the performance with good quality and what is most important very funny! The children roared with laughter when Valentina as the witch Baba Jaga or Igor as General appeared on the stage.
After the performance we began to get acquainted with the Village children. The children of different ages had a lot of fun and got a lot of gifts collected by students and teachers of our school (clothes, shoes, toys, stationary and cleaning supplies – all useful in a household!). The children were really happy that day. They finished the day in a very good mood and we do hope that they will remember this day for a long time. We will not forget it either.'
New achievements and discoveries are waiting for the children of the Village thanks to your support. We wish you and your families a health, wealth and success.”
As you can see, an SOS Children's Village is a fantastic place to grow up. With the love and support of an SOS Mother, every child in our care benefits from all the opportunities they need to thrive. If you are inspired to help give a child a loving home like this, sponsor a child online today.