Sponsor's update from Bujumbura
Update from November 2006
Dear sponsors, dear friends,
In this end of the year 2006, what a pleasure we have yet to address to you on behalf of SOS children, SOS youths, SOS mothers and SOS co-workers, our heartfelt greetings and feelings of gratefulness for your unswerving support to Bujumbura SOS Children’s Village
Currently, the Village population comes to 128 children living in 13 family houses. The others 4 reunited keep on getting our support in their biological families. Since June 2006, we took in 19 children. In addition, 14 youths were transferred in a youth home opened in October 2006, at the moment when a girl was admitted in the SOS Secondary School boarding. Thus, we have 9 SOS youth homes: 4 for boys and 5 for girls. The number of the youths amounts to 168 of whom 66 are boarding at the SOS Secondary School of Bujumbura. 45 youths are in housing looked after but 3 of them are abroad. 2 SOS youths among the 6 who have completed technical education have got a job, we intend to resettle them by the end the year. The young alumna is expecting to be hired at the Bujumbura Bank of Credit.
The sociopolitic situation has slightly improved with the signing of cease-fire between government and the Hutu People’s Liberation party (PALIPEHUTU FNL). However, the economic problems persist. The climatic hazards continue to destabilize agricultural production. Also, diseases that attack certain food crops such as cassava worsen the situation. The HIV/AIDS pandemic unceasingly grows the number of orphans and vulnerable children.
For this purpose, the village continues to support the surrounding community through Family Strengthening Programme (FSP). The direct assistance is granted to 200 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). Within the framework of Family Development Plans implementation, 16 guardian families of OVCs have got from the Programme a financial support in order to carry out income generating activities. To ensure the daily follow-up of the FSP activities, a head of the Programme was recruited.
On June 23, the Village enthusiastically celebrated the SOS Villages International Day. It was an opportunity for our SOS children and SOS youths to flaunt their talents through modern and traditional dances. The Village drummers ‘’ Karyenda SOS drummers” did not miss this important appointment. The sketch performed by OVCs supported within the framework of FSP as well as the poem declaimed by an SOS child called upon everyone to respect the child rights. On August 5, we also celebrated the graduation for 9 general humanities laureates and 4 youngsters from technical education. This year, the Village boasts a grandson. In fact, our young lady Noëlla who got married last year has just got a pretty baby boy.
Within the framework of blossoming, a holiday camp was organised from 7 to 12 August, 2006 at the Rutana SOS Children’s Village for youths from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Miscellaneous sporting, cultural activities, works of common interest and debates on topics interesting the youths’ life were the highlights of the week. All the scheduled basketball matches were won by youths from the Bujumbura SOS CV. In July, a youth leader and his youngsters paid a friendly visit at Uvira SOS Children’s Village in the DRC.
The SOS Primary School organised a soccer tournament within the framework of world peace and development games on behalf of children and youths, it is the same school which won. An educational trip took place for grade 6 schoolchildren and football team members in July. They visited the water purification station of the electricity and water distribution control (REGIDESO). SOS mothers paid a visit to those of Gikongoro and Byumba SOS Children’s Villages in Kigali (Rwanda). The trip was very enjoyable. It was an opportunity to strengthen their friendship relation without forgetting good practices sharing.
In the medical field, curative and preventive care continue to be administered to SOS children and youngsters, to SOS staff and the surrounding community by the SOS Medical Centre. The cholera epidemic declared in Bujumbura municipality at the beginning of October has not reach the Nyakabiga commune yet where the Village is located. 1 child and 3 youngsters are undergoing treatment in Nairobi (Kenya) hospitals, offering specialised services that do not exist in Burundi. 2 of them went back there for medical check up. A significant evolution has been noticed with children treated by an ortho-educationalist. They now attend classes normally.
As for partnership, the government continues to support the Village. The National Council for Fight against AIDS (NCFA) and the World Food Program (WFP) go on with their noble task to support Village activities respectively in granting anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to SOS Medical Centre and foodstuffs to the Village. Also, new work programs with these partners will soon be renewed.
With regard to schooling, the SOS Nursery School organised a special needs program for newly admitted children of school age, in order to enable them to attend our schools. At the SOS Primary School, the school year 2005-2006 was crowned with success considering performances reached in the national competitive exam (97,22%). At the SOS Secondary School, 84, 31% of the general humanities alumni got through the exam giving access to the higher education. Out of 7 SOS youngsters attending the final year of the same school, 5 got through the state exam. With the beginning of the school year 2006-2007, the SOS secondary school registered 522 pupils.
The success rate of SOS children and SOS youths was satisfactory at the end of the school year 2005-2006. In fact, 71,13% of SOS children and 83,75% of SOS youths have moved up the class despite power cut problem which hamstrung the entire capital throughout the year. We intend to register 9 laureates in private higher education given the restrictive requirements to accede to public University. It adds to that, the repetitive teachers and students strikes.
Youngsters who completed the technical education will benefit from a further training in computer science so that they be competitive on the labour market. 2 young boys are proceeding with their University studies in Russia since September thanks to the support of Russia alumni Association.
Dear sponsors, dear friends, we could not conclude without reiterating our heartfelt thanks for your unwavering support and your generosity towards our Village. By wishing you of Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, we remain.
Damien Pasquet Barindogo
Child sponsorship update from Rutana
Update from November 2006
We are very happy to address to you this letter so as to keep you informed about the development of our Rutana SOS Children’s Village in this second half of the year 2006. At first, we extend to you our sincere greetings and wish you a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the year 2007. We are delighted and grateful to you for the interest and the support that you bring to the development of our young SOS Children’s Village.
The Rutana province in which the Village is established has not improved its socio-economic situation since the last report. The population is living in a grinding poverty and the famine is raging since six years. To cope with this situation, the Village is supplying with foodstuffs in neighboring provinces of Gitega and Makamba, that is at more or less 60 km. Water and electricity are also scarce in this region and the Village is affected of that. As for energy, it regularly resorts to a generator whereas for water, the Village vehicle draws it from the river situated at 13 km away, which is costly in fuel.
With six newly admitted children, the Village has reached its maximum capacity of 140 children of whom 77 boys and 63 girls. All children of preschool and school age are registered in SOS schooling facilities of RUTANA that is 22 at SOS Nursery School and 103 at SOS Primary School. Last but not the least, note that 4 children stay at home because they don’t have school age yet.
In order to improve SOS children school results, teachers and SOS mothers collaborate closely by exchanging information on a regular basis about children’s school work in general and particularly for those who have school adaptation difficulties.
Concerning extra sessions, SOS aunts supervise children in the afternoon classes of Tuesday and Thursday with the support from teachers and educational advisers of the Village and of the school.
A good school success has been registered at the end of the school year in last July. Thanks to implementation of the recommendations from an ortho-educationalist, 4 children out of 9 who had learning difficulties have been moved up a class. Yet, to encourage children and staff who have well performed by way of emulation, the Village organised, on July 7th, a ceremony to award prizes and gifts to 8 SOS children and SOS youths who got exceptional results, to 2 SOS mothers, to 2 SOS aunts as well as a gardener with noticeable efforts in the fulfillment of their daily tasks. This ceremony took place in a festive atmosphere in the Village gardens in presence of all children, all SOS mothers, all SOS co-workers and some members of SOS friends’ network as well.
Concerning vacations of children and youths from the SOS Children’s Village, barring children from the 4 SOS new families, all others spent their holidays in biological families. It was a great success in that field, which we can assert it, has been possible due to explanation and sensitisation of April and July organised for the guardians of children living in the Village.
The RUTANA SOS children’s Village also accommodated from 6 to 12 of August, a holiday camp rounding up SOS youths from Burundi, the democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda around the theme “Educate an SOS youth who is responsible”. The organisation of formative, entertaining and sporting activities has enabled to achieve the overall goal which was the global blossoming of the participants. The population and administration of RUTANA province have thanked the courage of SOS youth from the sub-region. In fact, their participation to an activity of public interest at RUTANA such as the renovation of street which leads from the SOS Children’s Village to the chief town of the province and their sport meetings with youths from the community have been of a great contribution in the integration of the Village in the surrounding Community.
As for supporting activities to local communities, several actions have been carried out. The Rutana socio-medical centre continued its activities of dispensing curative and preventive care to needy population. During the 2nd semester of the year 2006, we registered 1,200 curative consultations, 108 preventive consultations including antenatal consultations for pregnant women, vaccination and family planning. Also, 405 HIV/AIDS voluntary screenings have been carried out and have enabled free access to ARVs to 45 HIV/AIDS-positive.
The family strengthening program went on supporting basic services access and psychosocial assistance to 212 orphans and other vulnerable children living in 95 families. During the second semester, the socio-medical centre has supported income generating activities in 12 families and has also taken part in the construction of 7 houses for homeless families. The socio-medical centre has also contributed in the acquisition of seeds by 95 vulnerable families with a view to food self-sufficiency.
Wishing you yet again a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2007, please accept, dear sponsors, the expression of our heartfelt thanks.
Mr. Augustin HAKIZIMANA
Relevant Countries: Burundi.