Sponsor’s Update From Kotayk, Armenia


SOS Children
Feb 25 2009

Child sponsorship update from the SOS Children’s Village Kotayk,
Armenia from Summer 2008.

The bright sun outside urges us to finish all our main jobs before
the summer holidays and keeping our promise to you we are writing
about your sponsored SOS Children’s Village Kotayk in Armenia, as
it has become a kind tradition to be in contact with you this period
of the year. And every time when we sit down to share with you about
the recent events and developments in our Village, we know how much
you have been looking forward to getting this news. With pleasure we
send you information on recent events and developments in the village
Kotayk as well as our warmest greetings and great feelings for your
help during this time.

You may already know that SOS Children’s Village Kotayk is 18 years old
since its inception and it enjoys great popularity in our country. It
is our continuous endeavour here to create an atmosphere very near to a
normal family for the lonely child who has been a victim of severe and
unfortunate circumstances. One very detailed article was published in
National newspapers about the SOS. The article covered one full page
and 1/3 of another page. Another popular TV channel twice highlighted
the work of SOS, first inviting the National Director for a detailed
Questions & Answers about the activities of the SOS Children’s Village,
and for the second time inviting for a podium.

The year was full of events, celebrations, visits and many other
entertainments organised in the village, as it mostly coincided with
New Year, Christmas, Day of Army, Women’s Day, the Day of Maternity
and Beauty, the Victory together with many birthdays which were
all celebrated in very joyful atmosphere giving a lot of energy and
enthusiasm for children. And correspondingly many excursions have been
organized connected with the above mentioned events. As you may know
Armenian Christmas is on 06 January and this is one of the beloved
events for the children of our Village. It is the day when many,
many people visit the Village, perform concerts for the children and
together with the Santa give presents to all the children.

Additionally the period was a good start for the second part of
the academic year. In this aspect a lot of our children were very
progressive and showed significant results in their studies. Various
hobby groups of the village remain active and go on functioning
productively with the attendance of most of the village children;
almost all of them express their interests and abilities in the above
mentioned groups and various exhibition-competition activities take
place in the Village regularly. The comparatively newly opened Young
Journalists’ hobby group was surprisingly well admitted, and in the
result in April an orientation visit had been organised to the printing
house where they witnessed interesting processes of printing. It was
really exciting! Children of this group with the help of their hobby
group leader have established and regularly publish newspaper called
"Hrashamanuk" which means "wonder kid". Children publish their poems,
fairy-tales, and stories about village activities in it as well as
interviews with SOS staff. In March there was a regular exhibition of
needlework hobby group and some of the village children had really
nice works and got memorable presents from the jury. By the way,
it has been a long time since SOS children painted batic pictures,
which are, surely, the visiting-card of our Village. Unlike paintings
of the first generation, which used to hang on SOS nursery school
walls, the new ones are decorating their home walls.

Children’s out of school activities One of our girls named Ani
has been attending dancing school for already a few years where
she has been learning both Armenian and Latino dances. She has
quite serious achievements in it and most probably will get soon
a qualification verified by the certificate. Her dancing group has
even got an invitation to visit Bulgaria with concerts which is not
decided finally. Besides, she shows good progress at school and,
in general, she is very much interested in studying and is actively
involved in activities both at school and SOS-Village. Moreover, she
attends almost all the hobby groups in the Village and is very good at
painting, embroidery, sewing as well as role playing. One of her batik
paintings the SOS village have recently presented to the best friend
of the SOS children famous Armenian singer Christine Pepelian who
visited to the SOS-Children’s Village on the occasion of her birthday.

We have told you many times about sport activities in the Village,
and we are proud to inform you that our SOS football team is a
serious one and is known as one of the best junior football teams in
Armenia. There are 10-11 boys in this team. They are trained 5-6 days
weekly for 2-3 hours by their coach. The SOS-team has had many matches
within last years and it mainly ended up the winner. Recently there
has taken place a competition in the capital city of Yerevan between
the junior football teams representing all the orphanages of Armenia,
which was initiated by the joint cooperation of the Brazilian and
Argentinean Embassies in Armenia. Unfortunately our team didn’t take
the first prize; instead it played a very good game full of nice
goals. All the participants got presents form the above-mentioned
embassies. It is worth mentioning that some of the boys have a good
potential for becoming professional football players by the words of
experts, however, they have to make it their big wish and dream to
reach this goal.

The health issue of the SOS children has been under the constant
control of the organisation. Some of the children needed psychological
assistance and the association has provided that, and thanks to them
many children who had psychological problems now are fully relaxed from
the emotional instability. So the year was smooth and quiet without
any significant events and occasions, and to our great happiness only
joyful facts were by the SOS Children Armenia. It is worth mentioning
that we make every effort to create conditions for psychological
rehabilitation and social integration of the children into the village
life at present and into the society in the future. Whenever facing
difficulties, SOS-mothers ask for additional support by professional
psychologists. It is a matter of common understanding that children
get their positive energy in the families as family is the heart of
society, and in this sense, the role of the SOS mothers is of high
importance. The implementation of case discussions that started in
the beginning of January has become a very welcoming support towards
the work of the SOS mothers. All this becomes possible because of the
sincere and affectionate care given by the mother and surely your
valuable sponsorship. Your support is not only financial but helps
the child in a unique way too.

Developing young lives and the community Here we must tell you some
details about the Youth Facilities as a substructure of SOS Children
and in general life in Youth Facilities has been very active during
these months, and their Individual Development Plans are mostly vividly
coming into life. The bright examples are stated below which made
the of our youth very hopeful and our youngsters smoothly build up
their internal culture and a such they demonstrate excellent example
of a well organised community as a whole. Andrey and Paylak from the
Youth Facility I have graduated their High Schools recently, Andrey-the
State Academy of Arts and Paylak-the State Teaching Institute and are
getting ready to take their mandatory military service. Some of our
youngsters study at secondary or vocational schools, while the others
are at higher educational institutions. Luckily, our youngsters having
acquired enough life and professional skills can make achievements
in real life. As we have stated in our previous reports, a young
lady named Nelly is enjoying great successes in the Circus art. She
is already receiving serious roles in the circus performances, and
thus sees her future in that filed.

The year was very fruitful for the implementation of other SOS
projects aiming to strengthen families and prevent the abandonment
of children. The forthcoming of the Family Strengthening Programme in
Yerevan, the programme of Support to the Quality Development of Public
Schools in Kotayk and Nor Gyugh villages, greatly increased the public
awareness on the organisation. The start of the Family Strengthening
Programme in Yerevan became a kick-off for the process of awareness
building in Yerevan as well. The SOS Armenia was thrilled to cooperate
with the City Hall, which was really a great pride for SOS Armenia. In
the result after a year of its operation the Family Strengthening
programme was awarded by a letter of commendation by the beneficiaries
themselves and an official one by the City Hall. Another fact that
surely must be highlighted in our report the establishment of the
second Children’s Village in Idjevan, one of the wonderful and green
places in Armenia. We greatly hope that soon it will become a safe
shelter for a lot of children in need of normal family atmosphere. Thus
the year was very important and significant in this aspect too.

The period for the initiative of SOS Armenia to support the development
of public schools of the adjacent to Children’s Village Kotayk
villages of Nor Gyugh and Kotayk was marked by the opening ceremony
of a training and resource centre in Kotayk school where mostly our
SOS children study. New child centered methodologies have been well
practiced by the trained teachers. It can be proudly stated that
the school has so far managed to be awarded grants from the Catholic
Church, as they have written projects proposal together with children
for music centre and theatrical curtains for the hall. Another donation
by an Armenian from Iran was conducted; desks for 11 classrooms have
been presented to the school. Toilets outside the school have been
reconstructed by the godfather of a SOS child another Armenian from
Italy. They called it just a miracle.

June 01 is the International Day of Protection of Children and we
are very much pleased to see the number of people and organisations
offering special programmes to our children.

An education and a future The work of the SOS Nursery School as an
inseparable part of the Children’s Village, was fully integrated into
the village life. Moreover, almost all the events of the village were
organised in the premises of the Nursery School. Needless to speak
about the close cooperation of the kindergarten staff and those SOS
mothers whose children attend the nursery school. It remained to be
the only pre-school age child care service provider in the vicinity
of the four neighbouring communities in the result of the close
cooperation. The "Ararat Climbing Hold" German company has built and
set up a child-friendly "climbing wall" in the Nursery School, which
the children enjoyed very much and it was the first one in Armenia.

Here also a very notable event related to the physical capacity of
the village; after 14 years, the village was fully gazified which
promotes to obvious savings for the CV. Another important and long
pending event was the set-up of Internet connection in the CV. It
was of great help for the village as today it is difficult to imagine
life without this kind of connection.

So this year the SOS Children’s Village Kotayk has been a safe and
comfortable home for 79 children in need who found warm families
and loving mothers here with the help and thanks to your precious
support. Since the beginning of the year only one child has been
admitted in the village, and thus the total number of children
is 252 children in SOS-Armenia together with Youth Facilities and
Semi-Independent Living.

Last but not least, as usual for this period organisation of summer
holidays for our dear children and youngsters is under way about
which you will be reported on their holiday experience in detail in
our-end-of-year report. Finally, we want to express our gratefulness
personally to you and to all our sponsors, friends and donors who
provide us with continuous support and devotional care. We highly
appreciate your charity and wish to help our SOS children to have
a better future tomorrow. In our days such kind of support is most
noble and praiseworthy.

On behalf of our SOS children, SOS mothers and the staff, I want to
express my gratefulness to your sincere support and devotion to our
children. It’s true that without your generosity and thoughtfulness
it would be impossible to make these events come true and to make our
children’s life happier and brighter. We keep praying for all of you
and may you be happy and healthy throughout your life. We feel happy
to be friends with you and also feel proud that the long distance is
not an obstacle for our friendship, and we sincerely look forward
to enlarging the circle of friends. We do hope that our feelings
are mutual.

Wishing you good luck, all the best and memorable summer vacations,

Yours sincerely, Hovhannes Kostanyan, Village director


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