SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE, BAKOTEH
The SOS Children’s Village, Bakoteh was established in 1981 and was officially inaugurated in 1983 as the first SOS programme in The Gambia. The village initially started with six family houses and gradually increasing to ten family houses due to the increase in demand for admission of more needy and vulnerable children. The ten family houses when filled to capacity accommodates 100 children. At present, the total number of children in the village is 92 out of which, 46 are boys and 46 girls and each family house is headed by a Mother who exercises maximum autonomy in running her family house and managing the lives and welfare of her children under the support and supervision of the village Administration.
Under our Family Based Care model, where every child belongs to a family, high consideration is given to the holistic development of the child as an individual. This includes good health; high quality education and a conducive family environment where children are encouraged to participate in village community life.
As part of their development programmes, the village organizes extra curricula activities. This includes site visits, debates, spelling and quiz competitions as well as singing, dancing, drama and sports activities. This is done to enable our children mingle with children from the community and share common interest it also helps our children to develop and showcase their potential and talents in their areas of interest. The older children are also encouraged to participate in different groups and clubs such as Voice of The Young, Red Cross and President’s Award scheme etc. Capacity building activities are also conducted for the children to enhance their knowledge on areas such as child’s rights and protection, personal hygiene etc.
The Social Work unit of the village offers psychosocial and developmental support to families in the village as well as staff. The department looks into the holistic welfare of the family more particularly the children. The Services offered to the children and mothers includes group counseling on issues like truancy, attitudinal changes, relationship, drop in education etc affecting a group of children or a family. Individual Counseling is also offered for children and youth on academic performance, behavior, relationship, self-esteem and for adults personal or work related issues. In-service training is conducted on child safeguarding and other related topics that deals with parenting to support SOS Mothers and Aunties perform their duties as required. Monitoring is done on a daily bases in ensuring families are doing well and also supporting if there are issues.
In offering various essential services to our beneficiaries The village receives funding through the SOS International sponsorship scheme for the day to day running of the village. Additionally local individual donors also support our through cash and kind donations. In fulfilment of part of their social corporate responsibilities, SOS Children’s Village, Bakoteh is in partnership with Atlas (G) Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank (G) Ltd, and Guaranty Trust Bank. The above establishments are sponsoring the running cost of a family house per annum which $10,500.00. We are urging more corporates, groups, associations and individuals to come on board and support this noble cause.
The village also operates a kindergarten and currently has a population of 98 children, out of which 5 are in the transit home. The SOS Children’s village also runs a youth home facility for older boys from the ages of 14 – 18 years which is headed by a Supervisor and a Youth Leader. The total number of youths as at now is 26 this figure includes the youth girls above 14 years old who are still residing in the village. The SOS Children's Villages works collaboratively with SOS affiliated projects in service delivery i.e. health and education in complimenting governments efforts in the above areas. This can be attested to the fact that a new Children's Village was inaugurated in Basse in July 2007 which presently accommodates a total of 36 children. Our project in Basse, also runs a kindergarten and a lower basic which when combined together will give you a total roll call of 168 respectively.
In supporting mothers perform their duties and responsibilities as required, they are offered in-service training on topics related to child care such as good parenting skills, child’s right and protection, home management, nutrition, hygiene and health related issues. In addition to these they are encouraged and offered developmental activities to give them the necessary life skills they need to support the children under their care. This includes pastry making, tie and dye, batik, soap making, food and beverages as well as gardening. Twice weekly, they gather in the hut to discuss pertinent issues relating to the work, child upbringing and the way forward. The mothers literacy classes is ongoing on a weekly basis.
SOS Kindergarten Bakoteh is facility in the SOS Children`s Village Bakoteh it was built in 1982 for the children in the children`s Village. The Kindergarten comprises of five (5) Classrooms and two toddlers classes and an Administrative block with a kitchen, children`s toilet, two teachers toilets and a playground.
The kindergarten for the past years is running doubled shift with a roll call of 264 pupils which consist of 124 girls and 117 boys of which 23 are SOS children out of which 11 are girls and 12 boys. Presently there is a total of 17 staff of which 13 are educators (9 female, 4 male) and 2 female child caregivers. Since the establishment of the KG there has been great achievement in terms of Academic performance with the introduction of Montessori Methods of teaching. In 1996 French was introduce in the curriculum this lured most parents to enroll their children in the KG. In 2009 Jolly phonics method of teaching was also introduced. We are using a curriculum framework that was developed by the Educators in SOS KG Bakoteh and Basse with the help of The SOS Village Admin and The SOS National office Bakoteh for toddlers, group one group two and group three. The curriculum includes all the learning areas such as communication, language, literacy reasoning and numeracy, The KG education does not stop within the four corners of the classroom there are extra-curricular activities set during the year for each term.
The Multipurpose centre in SOS Children’s Village Bakoteh was donated by the Japanese Government through their embassy in Senegal-Dakar. Upon completion of the construction work and part furnishing of the centre, it was handed over to the village management on the 21st March 2012. The center is open to the community and we have some activities going on presently: