Youth combing little girl, another girl waiting behind
Children's Village Cali in Colombia, the 500th Children's Village:
In August 2009, SOS Childrens Villages announced the opening of the 500th childrens village in Colombia. SOS Children's Village Cali was built on a site of 9,500 m² between December 2007 and August 2009.
The first six SOS families, who had been living together in provisional accommodation for two years, moved into their new homes in August 2009. The Village comprises fourteen family houses and the usual ancillary buildings such as the director's house, a house for SOS aunts (SOS mother trainees or family helpers who support the SOS mothers during their daily work and fill in for them when they are ill or on leave), a service and administration area, a multi-purpose building and a guest house for staff who participate in training workshops or come to the Village on business.
The Village provides a loving and caring home to up to 126 children. Leidy (13), Brian (ten), and Kimberly (six) are happy children who have found a loving and safe home at a family house run by an SOS mother and an SOS aunt. They were amongst the first to join the new village:
Alberto Lema, the Village Director of SOS Children's Village Cali says: "Leidy, Brian and Kimberly's mother died of a disease and because they never lived with their father, it was their grandmother who remained responsible for them. She was an old woman, sick, and with very few economical resources. So, we approached the family and carried out several interviews with the children's relatives. Finally, after a long process, it was decided to welcome all of them into the new Village.
SOS aunt Sandra says: "When Leidy, Brian, and Kimberly arrived, they were kind and respectful. We just tried to help them without interfering much and they soon started to learn new things. Especially, they learned to give value to the things around them. Among other things, they learned to pray before the main meals, to say thank you, and so on; and also, to go to church, because, although they are Catholic, they did not go to church, except with us. When they arrived, the only one that would help with the housework was the eldest sister Leidy; the younger kids would just observe. Little by little they learnt, too, to have individual as well as group responsibilities. They learned to make their own beds, to sort out their clothes, to take care of their own space, to keep it clean and, very important, to say 'please'."
Leidy says: "I feel happy in the Village and I like everything in here, especially the houses... they are cozy and beautiful." Brian says: "I feel happy here. In my house I like my bed. Then I like to clean my room and... to play. My favourite toy is my truck with which I play very much."
Kimberly says: "I like my bed... it is very soft. My favourite toy are my Barbies (dolls). I have twelve and I like vegetables and I like to clean my room and pass things to my SOS mom".