Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inculcating life skills in teenagers

The Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in Eldoret conducted a 5-day life skills workshop from 30th November to 5th December for approximately 150 beneficiaries. The seminar, that targeted children between the ages of 13-19 years, also included children from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret. The main objective of the workshop was to inculcate important life skills in children such as decision making, while at the same time enhance confidence, self esteem, cooperation, empathy, trust, and faith among pupils.

According to Getrude, a social worker at the FSP, it is necessary to start imparting life skills at an early age so that these young children grow into mature, healthy, and responsible members of the society. “It can be said that life skills education assists in the development of psychosocial skills that are required to deal with the demands and challenges of the everyday life”, she adds. She attributes life skills as an empowering subject to pupils especially at this time when some of the children are living in a child headed household due to HIV related deaths, while some children have no adults to guide them in decision making of their lives.

She mentioned that with life skills education, children with problems are free to share with their peers or to seek help from teachers, community or local leaders. “Children will be more open and able to disclose their challenges in order to get assistance rather than stress themselves with unresolved life problems and make wrong decisions that affect their future,” she explained.
Additionally, she compares life skills to the shield that will protect children from temptations that may hinder their future development and empower them with necessary skills that will enable them to make informed decisions in every step they take in their lives.
Besides giving the children an opportunity to get to know each other, learn and have fun, they were taught about HIV prevention, children’s rights, sexuality, and many other matters parents normally talk with their children about.

It was interesting to hear some of the responses from some of the participants:

“I have been able to learn how to make decisions that are not harmful to me," said Josephine, 14, from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret. "Although our realities are very different, I feel that together we can do things better", she added.

Dorothy, 15, also from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret said, “This workshop has really helped me to know the consequences of not abstaining from pre-marital sex. I will share what I have learnt with my peers.

“The workshop has helped me to understand how the choices I make in life can affect me and inspired me to remain focused in my life ambitions”, said Abdui, 14, from Border Farm primary school.

By Fredrick Ochieng Youth Care Co-worker

Friday, December 4, 2009

Youth and children rekindle connections with relatives over Christmas holiday

The Christmas holiday season has once again approached like a runaway locomotive that no one can slow down. It is one season that descends on us with full force. From catchy Christmas jingles to city decorations, the impact is felt everywhere. Images of the latest gadgets neatly gift-wrapped and happy children with pricey new toys constantly flash on TV while seductive voices urge us to spend more.

At SOS Children’s Village Eldoret, it is also a moment for our children to visit their relatives in the rural setting and a time for them to interact with others outside academic issues.
Given the hustle and bustle of school work, the holiday is an ideal opportunity for these children and youth to escape. The mood is already evident in the village with most of them engrossed in playing football and riding bicycles, while others make noise and run around. It is all part of growing.

With most schools having gone on recess, some of our children have already left for their rural homes and by mid month, most of them will have travelled upcountry to reconnect with their relatives. This is one way they will be able to appreciate life from another angle.

The annual journey which is akin to a “pilgrimage” is one that every child from our village is always looking forward to and excited about. It is a journey that connects them with their communities from whom they learn their language and provides them with glimpses of their traditions. It also brings them face to face with the hardships and realities of the community at an early age. This way, they are able to be challenged to reach their potential as well as remain firmly connected to their roots.
For those visiting their rural homes for the first time, it is usually an opportunity to get a different perspective on life. Apart from the journey being interesting, they might use the time to discover themselves. Self discovery is one of the most important things that can happen to a child during this period. It will also instill a culture of responsibility in them. They will fetch firewood, learn how to milk cows and go to the shamba. These little acts will contribute to their general character and mould them into better people in the future.

After all, life is about experiences.

By Fredrick Ochieng, Youth Care Co-worker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Today the world is marking World AIDS day to create awareness about HIV. The theme “universal access and human rights” addresses the need to protect human rights and attain access for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. It also lays emphasis on the need to minimize discrimination of people living with AIDS. At SOS Children’s Village Eldoret, the mood of the day was captured by children putting their thoughts and feelings on paper. Here are some of the excerpts from the children about World AIDS Day as seen from their perspective:

“There is no cure for AIDS”

AIDS can get into our bodies any time. It can be spread though sharing and piercing instruments like nail cutters, razor blades, unprotected sexual behaviors, blood transfusion, mother to child transmission at birth. We should not share cutting or piercing instruments. Those who do first aid for injured people should use protective gloves so that they don’t get infected. Those people living with AIDS should be loved and cared for without any discrimination.

We should respect and love persons living with HIV/AIDS especially those who are orphans and are infected. We should give enough food and shelter for them to live a longer life. They should have equal opportunities just like those who are not infected.

AIDS is killing millions of people all over the world. I like to inform all of us never to engage in sex before marriage.

AIDS is mainly transferred through sexual activities. Know your status by visiting a VCT center

Today is a very special day for everyone. We remember the first man to be infected with AIDS. It is a day all of should know our status. We should know that a person infected by AIDS is part of us. We should not discourage people infected with AIDS. Anyone can be infected so we need to take good care of ourselves by not engaging in unprotected sex, avoid sharing objects such as needles, toothbrush and razor blades.

As we celebrate the World AIDS Day, let us remember to pray and care for those infected so they can get well. We should also show love and care for people living with AIDS.

World AIDS Day is a day to celebrate and assist people living with AIDS. We should not hate people since they need our help. When we visit them in hospitals, we should take them food and clothes. It is not easy to know who does not have AIDS so it is the duty of everyone to take care of themselves by behaving responsibly.

AIDS where did you come from? You came bouncing like a monster when mother was heavy with a new born baby.

People who have AIDS must be cared for, loved and must never be separated from the rest of the people since they are part and parcel of us. I love this day very much because people are willing to know about their status.

Compiled by Fredrick Ochieng, Youth Care Co-worker

SOS Kindergarten Eldoret celebrates Annual Graduation.

A total of 33 kindergarten pupils of SOS Kindergarten in Eldoret will step into the world of primary education come January. Their graduation ceremony was held on 24th November 2009 at the school's compound which is situated inside the village. Of the 33 pupils 8 were from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret.

The guest of honor at the event, who presented the graduation certificates to the pupils, was Mr. Oscar Kadenge, the SOS Children’s Villages Kenya Education Officer.

In her welcoming remarks, the kinder-garten head teacher, Ms Salma Mbwana applauded the parents and teachers for their cooperation and support in ensuring that the children were well prepared and ready for standard 1 in the coming year.

The SOS Herman Gmeiner School Principal, Mr. Elijah Omobe, while giving his speech said, “I am very delighted and happy with the work of the teachers and parents who through their devotion and commitment have well prepared the graduants for primary education. He congratulated the pupils and said, “I am going to join your family and friends in feeling happy and proud on what you have achieved and what you will or can do to the world”. He added that while they continue to focus on their studies, they will be given opportunities to develop their social, communication, leadership, creative, physical, analytical and problem solving skills.
The fun-filled graduation also witnessed a number of performances which included poems, songs, dances and a fashion show by kindergarten children. Parents too were not left behind in the party mood and also participated in the cat walk.

A celebratory cake was shared among the children and the parents to commemorate the day. The children were feted with awards in the categories of discipline, cleanliness, best English speaker and best handwriting.