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SOS Children’s Village Bo

SOS Children’s Village Bo

The year 2009 has been a successful one. The SOS Children’s Village Bo continues to do well.  As at date, the village counts 132 children.  Two out of them are on temporary admission as their cases are still being investigated by the Social Welfare Department whilst 20 children have been earmarked to be transferred from the children’s village to the youth facility after successfully completing the youth orientation programme.  The academic performance of our SOS children for 2007/2008 academic year was successful as we had a pass rate of 89% in the exams. Also, the ten children who sat to the National Primary School exams were successful and are now in Junior Secondary School.  (Photo: Sponsored children)

The children attended a birthday party held in the village organised for children born between January and June, 2009.   The celebrants were encouraged to invite friends and they had a very nice time, receiving gifts from both their mothers and friends.

The village also had a very fruitful collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations and the Ministry of Health who brought supplies of anti-malaria drugs on a monthly basis and contributed in this way to reduce or eradicate the incidence of malaria in the village. 

To achieve our goal and objectives on the drive “One child, One friend, One movement”, there has been collaboration with the local radio stations sensitizing people to become friends of SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone in the frame of local sponsorship.

The SOS Children’s Village in Bo has been networking and partnering with other Child Agencies or Organisations in the Bo Township and with St. Mary’s Orphanage Home.  The most active partnership was with MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) with whom we signed a Memorandum of Understanding and trained staff and co-workers on health issues especially dealing with emergencies. 

During the period under review, mothers and staff were sensitized on the empowerment of youths in the children’s village and how they could serve in their family houses as role models.  There were minor reports on behaviours like fighting, truancy, and disrespect for the mothers and authorities.  However, those minor deeds were addressed by the child protection officer.

Child protection officers from the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affair and the administrative team of SOS Children’s Village Bo had a forum discussion with staff on ways to minimize child to child abuse such as bullying and intimidation and emphasize on child participation in discussion and decision making.

Presently, three SOS mothers from SOS Children’s Village Bo are in The Gambia and attend the ‘mother profession training programme’ which lasts two months.

A little story…
The Transformation

Did Michael ever think he was going to find a home and a loving family at the SOS Children’s Village Bo? Well, Michael has a mixed story to tell. One was the struggling days with his parents and the other was when this little lad was admitted into the Children’s Village where his life has been transformed.

Born during the escalation of the civil war in Bo, Southern region of Sierra Leone. Poor as his parents were, the only means of survival of his family was a petty trading business undertaken by his mother.  As Michael’s mother was the bread winner of his family, she had to move from one point to the other to sell her wares. Unfortunately, the bread winner got involved in a road accident where she sustained serious injuries to both legs; could not survive the accident and later died at the hospital.

Losing his mother, the father had to shoulder the responsibility to take care of Michael and his siblings. His father was unemployed and it was difficult for the family to survive. His father had no option but to resort to begging along the streets.

At the age of six, Michael was not enrolled in school because his father could not afford to pay school fees. “One day an official from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Children’s Affairs approached the Village Director and put forward Michael’s case. The Administrative team in the children’s village investigated and we realized that Michael needed help from SOS Children’s Village,” the Village Director narrates.

“I was always around the markets helping people to carry their loads. And they will give me some money which I used to buy food,” Michael recounts.

When he was admitted into the SOS Children’s Village Bo, he stayed away from his brothers and sisters. “Initially, on admission into the children’s village he hardly spoke or smiles to anybody. But he was encouraged to join the other children to play“, his SOS mother recalls.

“I love my SOS mother because he cares for all of us. Our concerns are her concerns,” this little lad notes.

There is one slogan he likes and always remembers which was said by his class teacher “No matter how challenging your life has become, no matter how worn down you are, despite your bitter disappointments, losses and wounds – your inner child/man always remains intact”

Today, Michael is in grade nine at the SOS International School, Bo. His class tutor has this to say: “Michael is one of my hardworking students. He does his homework.”

He now socializes with the other children, talk to elders and help his mother to carry out some home chores. What was lost have been found in the life of Michael.  

Michael is not the real name. It has been changed for privacy reasons.

SOS School Bo

The SOS International School in Bo started its 2009/2010 academic year in September with a roll of 458 students. 

In the recent National Primary School Exams, 43 students took the exams and had 100% passes; in the Basic Education Certificate Exams, 32 students took the exams and we had 98% passes; in the West African School Certificate exams, 14 students took the exam and had 97% passes with 13 students gaining university entry requirements.  The school has a very high standard of education.  In a bid to fully involve the parents and community, the school facilitated a Community Teachers Association meeting to discuss the children’s performance and identify weaknesses and strengths of their children. The teachers in collaboration with the administration are enforcing the discipline of the children which is helping in promoting learning.

In November, the school administration will be organizing a career day during which senior personnel from all works of life will be invited to make relevant and worthwhile presentations, particularly to the senior class students of both primary and secondary sections.  The pupils and students will be able to make choices of subject areas after these presentations.  The Physical and Health Education Unit of the school will be organising inter-class soccer, volleyball and basketball competitions within the frame of extracurricular activities.

The children are all looking forward with anticipation to the Christmas festivities which includes a school Christmas party before school breaks off for Christmas.

We thank God for showering his blessings on you, our sponsors, our children, mothers and staff. We join in wishing you a merry Christmas and a bright and successful new year 2010.

Yours sincerely,
SOS Children’s Villages Trust Sierra Leone
Mrs. Fatmata M. Taylor, National Sponsorship Co-ordinator

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