A little boy from the SOS Basse, Gambia primary school.…
I have been finding out about after-school clubs in Bakoteh. It's a lovely story, actually, becasue it starts off with a tree planting club that children enjoyed so much that it inspired others clubs and it shows the children's eagerness to learn. It just shows that sometimes small beginings can have bigger effects.
A little boy from the SOS Basse, Gambia primary school.
I have been finding out about after-school clubs in Bakoteh. It's a lovely story, actually, becasue it starts off with a tree planting club that children enjoyed so much that it inspires others clubs. It just shows that sometimes small beginings can have bigger effects and it shows the children's eagerness to learn. Here is what I found out:
The SOS Secondary School in Bakoteh started some extra projects children could take part in outside of their lessons, like literacy programmes and tree planting:
The literacy programmes began in 1996 when a group of student volunteers from the SOS Secondary School in Bakoteh came together under the guidance of the English teachers to write short stories. The volunteer students then shared their stories with the other pupils in the neighbourhood. This was to encourage the enjoyment of reading in the children.
This literacy programme became very popular with school head teachers in the neighbourhood. Regular weekly visits were organized, usually on Fridays, and student volunteers participated in turn to give a helping hand.
With time, the stories were put together in the form of books decorated with illustrations courtesy of the arts and craft department of SOS Secondary School in Bakoteh. The books were given to the community schools visited.
In addition to the literacy programmes, student volunteers also participated in periodic tree planting and cleaning of their environment. They also organised fundraising by selling their art exhibits as well as produce from the school farm to help the needy and destitute students among them. These activities continued through the years as the occasion demanded.
Then with the popularity of the other program, and the children's eagerness to learn in April 2005, the community service programme took a slightly different approach. The SOS Secondary School in Bakoteh had organized a seminar on "Vocational Awareness" which brought in five guest speakers.
One of them was Mr Saidou Jallow from the National Aids Secretariat. He explained the vital statistics on HIV/AIDS in The Gambia and pointed out that in spite of the low prevalence rate in HIV/AIDS infection a lot of education needs to be done to avert a future national disaster.
The students' were very interested in this seminar and together with the School's Counsellor, a group of them set up a "Peer Health Education Team" made up of 35 members to educate their peers on health-related issues especially on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
A training workshop was held in the school on 6 May 2005 to equip the team with the essential tools to rightly disseminate information.
Highly motivated, the team visited three schools in June and July 2005 to pass on information and basic facts on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Cholera: At the SOS Lower and Upper Basic School, the team spent two hours sharing information to 70 students in Grades 7 and 8 on issues relating to HIV/AIDS.
In Bakoteh Upper Basic School, a community school, a total of 500 students in Grades 7 and 8 benefited from 30 minutes of information sharing on HIV/AIDS. Afterwards, the school's drama club staged a short but relevant sketch to reinforce what the Team had shared with them.
Kotu Primary, another community school had a 90-minute interactive session with the team. Altogether, 60 Pupils in Grades 5 and 6 participated.
The responses from these schools have been positive. Students and pupils have been very open and shared their thoughts freely. They also asked questions which they would probably hesitate to ask their parents at home. Many of them expressed how enlightened they felt after the sessions with the Peer Health Education Team. The principals and teachers in these schools were also very appreciative.
An SOS family sitting together at a table in the garden in SOS Children's Villages Madreselvas, Chile.
Here are some snapshots of what life is like in the SOS Children's Villages Madreselvas, Chile.
In Santiago, Madreselvas, in a report from November 2008 there were 105 boys, girls and youngsters in 12 families living in the Village. When new children are welcomed into the village, the whole family prepares: each mother and all brothers and sisters help to decorate the new bedrooms, choosing a nice present and preparing delicious things to eat for this special occasion. Many of them, despite to be very young have already lived in different places. They arrive fearful and distrustful and this welcome makes them easier the first day.
For many of the children this is the first time they have felt love and received necessary cares for their development.
The SOS Mothers, have courses and workshops to help integrate new children into their family, this is along with the support of the experience of the other mothers.
When the children attend school there are a number of options to meet the child's needs. There is a collaboration between pysico-pedagogys training students and SOS Children's Villages. They support children with learning difficulties and thanks to this help; the childrens academic results have been improved considerably.
There are good opportunities for cultural and sport activities outside of the School. There is a theater class after school where 20 boys and girls work with students of the Theater Academy. The students come to the SOS Village three times a week for rehearsing with the group of children. Several months ago, a famous football player came to practice with children their favorite sport, at least for boys.
The FIFA President; Mr. Joseph and the Chilean Football Federation President, visited the SOS Village, playing football with the children and answering many questions about the most famous players in the world. Mr. Blatter gave 60 football balls, the same kind used in the Under-20 Women Football World Championship, to the children. Mr. Blatter also donated a significant money gift for SOS Childrens Village Chile.
It is often said that youngsters are not interested in politics, but at SOS an interest it encouraged. In October there were Municipal Elections, and with surprise we noticed the young lady Juliette, who is 20 years old, was candidate for town councilor in a small town out of Santiago. She wants to participate actively like other youngsters taking decisions about their town or city.