Tereza joins the SOS village
On the 4th of February SOS Children`s Village Fort Portal celebrated a new addition to the SOS family. On arrival, Tereza, 8, was affectionately received by her new SOS brothers and sisters who were eagerly waiting for her.
Friends today, friends forever
A few weeks later, the SOS programme hosted some youth from a renowned high school, who are members of the Interact Club. The children had fun as they interacted with the youth and made new friends. They took pictures for posterity.
Three SOS mothers went to Nairobi, Kenya for training at the beginning of the year. This was an opportunity for them to enhance their skills in child care, through interactive sessions with colleagues from other countries. They received knowledge on child protection, team building, personality and personality types among other topics.
The children have been receiving lessons in music, dance and drama for last three months. They were given an opportunity to learn how to play various traditional instruments like the xylophone. During these sessions, they also got time to enact scenes from their favourite television shows.
The amazing radio talk show
During the Easter break, some children from the SOS programme, participated in a radio talk show where they displayed their talents and knowledge. They spoke about what they consider a conducive learning environment, and the meaning of Easter. Jovia and Christine answered questions from callers with confidence and eloquence. We are very proud of our children.
Hon. President Helmut Kutin visits SOS Children`s Village Fort Portal
The highlight of this quarter was the visit from SOS Children`s Village President Kutin on 30th March. He was welcomed with cheers and dance by the children. He planted a memorial tree adjacent to one of the family houses. In the evening while having evening tea with the children, SOS mothers gave him a gift of a traditional walking stick. He also received an album with pictures of himself during the visit. He said, “This is very creative of you. I like it. Thank you so much SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal.” He also complimented us on the good health of our children. We were all extremely happy.
Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!
The Christmas spirit was fever pitch in Fort Portal; various activities were organized during this period to keep the children busy and entertained. In the build up to Christmas day, the sound of music and joy filled the air as children in the village rehearsed songs, dances and skits that they would perform during the holiday season. There was also great excitement as the children tried out the new costumes they would wear for their performances.
Christmas day began with a church service. Afterwards all family houses came together for a joint Christmas lunch. SOS mothers brought the food and snacks they had prepared in their houses and lay the cuisine on tables strategically arranged outside. It was an elaborate buffet with a vast variety of food.
This coming together for Christmas lunch is a tradition in Fort Portal. It helps the children bond with each other, and conjures feelings of one large happy SOS family.
Children were also delighted to have a sparkling Christmas tree in their house. They took numerous pictures for posterity.
Talent in Fort Portal
Indeed the sky is the limit for talent development in Fort Portal. At the beginning of January, SOS Scouts Team was privileged to be part of the Uganda Union Pathfinder Camporee 2015. Pupils and students of all ages from all over Uganda camped in Mitandi – Rwenzori Kabarole District in south western Uganda. The theme was “Break Camp and Move”. They participated in activities like, challenge games, friendly netball and football, mountain hiking among others. With these and others, SOS children learnt a number of life saving skills like surviving in strange unfriendly places, establishing one’s own shelter and how to make friends etc.
The Fun Day
The fun day was another talent exhibition moment for the children. They danced and sang songs from various parts of Uganda, performed skits among other activities that had taken a month to prepare. A few invited guests from the community were amazed by the talent and enthusiasm in our children.
The last three months have been fun-filled with activities like sports, music, dancing and drama. There were also inspirational moments during retreats, training and psycho-social support sessions.
Music, Dance and Drama
We have discovered that SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal is endowed with children who are talented in dancing and acting. Most of them can now dance “Olunyege”, a popular and complex cultural dance in Uganda. We bought a few traditional music instruments to add flavor to the dance and are in the process of acquiring some more. We are also designing unique costumes for the dances, made of different fabric and styles, to be worn during the Christmas festival. In Uganda, cultural dances have to be accompanied by special attires to match up the dance being performed. The children are very excited about this program.
Psycho – Social Support Assessment for Children and Mothers
In October 2014, SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal carried out a Psycho-social support assessment for SOS mothers and their children. During the appraisal, both children and mothers were encouraged to come up with solutions to what they perceived as challenging. At the end of the sessions, the evaluation team gave recommendations for each group for the next six months.
The birth of SOS Mothers’ Forum Uganda
Still inOctober, SOS Mothers from Gulu were hosted by their colleagues in Fort Portal for a joint retreat. The meeting gave birth to the first ever SOS Uganda Mothers’ Forum. The main aim of the group is to enable members (SOS mothers) share their experiences, and come up with solutions to common problems.
New child expected
During this quarter, the location team also identified extremely vulnerable children in the area that could be admitted for long term care, in SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal. Out of more than thirty cases assessed, ten children were recommended for admission. The youngest is Caleb Dushime (named by SOS team) aged 1½ months. Baby Caleb was found dumped near the Rwanda-Uganda boarder with an uncut umbilical cord. He is currently under the temporary care of Potter’s Village in Kisoro district in south western Uganda. SOS mothers and children in Fort Portal are eagerly waiting to receive Caleb, as soon as his admission is approved by the Uganda national office.
We have a football club named Hermann Gmeiner Kids Soccer Club F/P. Children not only play soccer for fun but also try to learn the professional side of the game. During the August school holidays, the team played and trained with Horst Soccer Academy (a local boys’ football club) in Fort Portal. Such experience exposes our children to professional football and strengthens the team. Our aim is to train 20 interested children, who will then pass on the knowledge to others, 13 boys are already training every Saturday. Unsurprisingly, girls have also shown interest in professional football. We will support them in every way we can. We hope to have a strong team by the close of this year and to be in the regional football scene come 2017.
Meanwhile, every school going SOS child has acquired a new pair of sports shoes. Most children have a physical education lesson at school, so it is important for them to have sports shoes to wear with their sports uniform. The children were overjoyed when they received their new wears in September; they wore wide smiles and jumped up and down. Majority of them now feel encouraged to participate in various sporting activities in school.
Tuition was organized during the school break in August to support academically weak children, and to generally keep them busy when out of school. Some children attended private classes in respective their schools while others had lessons within the village. The private classes have boosted the overall performance of the children. This was revealed during a recent review of the children’s school results, by SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal staff.
This quarter was full of fun activities; on June 23rd, 2014, we celebrated three years since SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal was opened. Our vibrant and beautiful children had prepared various presentations like dance, skits, poetry and games to mark the day. The ambience was electric; cheering and clapping filled the air as visitors who included partners and well-wishers cheered on the performers. Guests bought some of the art work on display while others gave cash donations to the delight of the children and the SOS team.
The celebration was also a time of great reflection when the SOS fraternity looked back at what has been achieved throughout the year; and at how the population has benefited from the presence of SOS Children’s Villages in the locality. Exhibited pictures showing piggery and poultry projects, saving schemes, improved dwellings etc. produced credible evidence of the impact of activities at community level. The day was crowned with a cake cutting ceremony.
SOS Hermann Gmeiner Kindergarten also celebrated their end of school term with song and dance. Parents and guardians were impressed by the talent and confidence exuded by the little children. Art pieces on display, which had been crafted by the children with the help of teachers, were sold out. Funds raised from the event will help supplement the budget for third term.
We also had a children’s fun day at SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal; this is a day when all our children, staff, well wishers and the community come together to share in fun filled activities. The venue was the play area in the village; activities included karaoke, eating competitions and games; children also danced to the tune of their favourite local music. The adults participated in “keep the seat”, a game in which fewer chairs than the number of contestants are made available; when a whistle is blown everyone scrubbles to secure a seat. Anyone who does not is ejected from the game. The children laughed hysterically as they watched staff members pushing and shoving in their attempt to get a chair in order to remain in the game.
The children enjoyed so much they kept asking for more and more. It is wonderful to have such days as they contribute greatly to our childrens’ development; we were all very happy and hope to hold the fun day annually.
SOS Children’s Village Fort Portal is full of life with the sounds of 111 happy children filling the air. Of these, 35 are in kindergarten, 69 are in primary school, while 7 toddlers stay home with their mothers. This year, under the generous support from our friends, sponsors and funders, our children have continued to receive quality education, better services and appropriate grooming.
Recently, we welcomed two new children into our SOS family; Joab and Junior, two years and 15 months old respectively. There was great joy and jubilation upon their arrival at the village; the newcomers were received with songs and hugs. They have since settled in their household and are doing well.
• SOS Hermann Gmeiner Kindergarten had its very first sports day this year on the same day that marked the end of first term. Our children happily participated in various activities like colour selection, sack race, sorting sizes, potato race, bottle filling, tunnel relay, among other exciting games. At the event the kindergarten headteacher recognized academic improvement in all the children: “In no time, this kindergarten will be celebrated as the best school in Fort Portal, thanks to our professional teachers and devoted children,” she said.
• With term one gone, children had a month to relax and enjoy play time at home. The esteemed Armando play area is now being fully utilised; a series of games have been organized to keep the children busy. As usual, remedial lessons are going on; teachers are already realising how keen to learn our children are.
• Our dear village director whom the children enjoyed calling “Mukaka”, has left the village; it was sad for the children to see her leave for they loved hanging around her. She treated them with so much love. We have recently received a new village director, a man, whom the children now call “new Mukaka”. He has been an inspiration to the boys; and has already bonded with the children in the month he has been with us.
• The Family Strengthening Programme as usual continues to make gains in the community; the programme runs piggery projects, mushroom growing gardens, agriculture, improves sanitation in the homes, not forgetting the now flourishing Village Saving Schemes among our caregivers.
• Students in the Vocational Training Centre have started a new term; they will spend this time doing more practicals in order to enhance their skills. We will soon update you on their progress as the year progresses.
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