Grabbing handfuls of sand at SOS Children's Village Bucharest
An article for Twotalk. Oana talks about Village experiences, and Kiara about individual English speaking tests.
- Oana, SOS Children, Romania
There are two other SOS Children's Villages in Romania, we do have a good and close relationship with Cisnadie and Hemeius.
Us being in Bucharest where the National Coordinating Office is, the employees from the other villages that have to participate at meetings and trainings and so on, come in Bucharest and stay in our Village. Sometimes they stay for a day or two, but sometimes for an entire week. So we have the occasion to meet each other regularly. We also share our experience via e-mail. We, the employees from Bucharest, visit the other Villages sometimes but mainly when we are doing an experience exchange or when we organize events for children together.
We also have quite a few of visits from our colleagues from abroad.
I haven’t been to any SOS Children's Village projects abroad, but some of my colleagues did and this is their impression of it: being part of the same organization with the same mission, vision and values, naturally things tend to be quite similar. In Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic the organization of the Villages is the same, with elements of local culture. The architecture of each Village is specific to the area in which is situated. Children go to the local schools and colleges and generally access all the public services as all the children from the community do.
I would personally like to visit one of the SOS Facilities in France.
- Kiara, SOS Children, Ghana
My SOS students completed their oral presentations recently and they were as fascinating as I had hoped they would be:
A young man from Burundi detailed his theory for success in a presentation that extended into a compelling discussion of survival and hope that belied any sort of formula than the topic may suggest. He introduced his philosophy with a big smile and an announcement that “Planning is my hobby.” From there he outlined the steps he takes to eliminate mental clutter and tactics to avoid too much stress. “I don’t understand these people who cram for tests” he said, “why don’t they just do things in bits so they don’t need to panic in the end?” He later described why he does not buy into the trends of such self-help books as The Secret with a guarded allusion to the violence he endured as a child caught inside a civil war. “I don’t agree with these books that say you deserve what you receive. A five year old child does not deserve to be hurt. How can he know what is in the world? He is only five.” In between the explicit reality of this statement is this student’s implicit story of loss (both physical and familial) that altered the course of his existence before his sixth birthday. He is a remarkable person with a gifted mind and a tremendous well of resilience. It is difficult to attach a grade to a conversation of such significance.
The only girls in the class (both from Ethiopia) explained the difficulties they faced in moving from their home villages to Ghana. They each focused on different challenges, but the common thread was language. It is a hard to adapt to a new culture, but trying to do so when you don’t speak or understand the common form of communication is especially hard. Both of these girls are quiet during class discussions, but they were wonderfully outspoken in this more intimate forum. One of them so enjoyed this part of her exam that she asked later if she could do it again.
What is most exciting about this type of assessment is that it allows each student the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the teacher who is often distracted by lesson plans and various voices in the room, and it was a great opportunity for me to hear from my pupils on a new level.