SOS Children’s Village Basse is located 375km away from Banjul (South Bank route). We are located in an area that experiences frequent occurrences of maternal deaths which are linked to early marriage, poor diet, and very low literacy rate among women.
SOS Children’s Village in Basse was officially inaugurated in August 2007. There are 12 family houses in the village, all built around a large green field. Each house is headed by an SOS mother who looks after between 7-10 children; these are children who lost parental care and have no one else to care for them. The SOS mothers have the support of 9 SOS aunties who share their valuable time in supporting those children at different family houses on a weekly basis. The aunties also take care of the children when SOS mothers are away during their days off, annual leave or medical appointments. Currently, the SOS mothers and aunties look after 85 children (48 boys and 38 girls respectively). However, the village has a capacity to accommodate 120 children.
The children’s village is also the home of the Village Director. It has an administration building, guest house, aunties’ house (also used as guest house), SOS Kindergarten Basse and SOS Hermann Gmeiner Lower and Upper Basic School Basse where both SOS and community children attend from Toddler to grade six, and a medium hall used for weekly assembly by students, performances and gatherings.
For children who have lost the care of their parents, we provide a loving home in an SOS family. At home, in our Children's Village Basse, they benefit from the best education and healthcare throughout their childhood. We provide a nurturing environment as they journey towards adulthood and we offer skills and guidance to enable them realize their career aspirations.
We build families for children in need and we help them to shape their own futures. We give children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family, we enable them to live according to their own culture and religion, and we help them to recognize and express their individual abilities, interest and talents.
We ensure that children receive the education and skills trainings they need to be successful and contributing members of society. Our ultimate goal is for them to be valuable assets and not liabilities.
All the SOS children who are admitted are those that have lost parental care or are at risk of losing parental care, and come from very poor families whose paternal and maternal families could no longer care for them. They lived in cramped, dangerous houses with few belongings, little or no means of survival and highly vulnerable. They are admitted to SOS Children’s Village Basse through the Department of Social Welfare who recommend them for long term placement.
The village organizes extracurricular activities for the children such as end of term activities (drama, role play/quiz competition, Lego fun day, debate, musical chair, football, bucket balance etc.). The annual Koriteh, Tobaski and Christmas feasts are also celebrated in grand style and children are always provided with African dress in cerebrating the day. They participate in their night parties with joy, happiness and ambience.
Every year (23rd June), the SOS Children’s Village Basse joins other Children’s villages to celebrate SOS day in order to commemorate the founder (Dr. Hermann Gmeiner) of the SOS Children’s Villages world wide.
Child protection orientation and sensitazion is a routine activity which is always organised to raise awareness on child protection, rigths and related issues in the village. Series of orientations and sessions are conducted for staff to raise their awareness on child rights and related issues.
Youth involvement in Child Protection issues (Child Participation) is also not left out as they are actively involved in raising awareness in the form of quiz competitions amongst FBC Children.
Quartely camp fires, with education and sporting activities, is regularly organised in the village in a bid to create awareness on child protection issues for both children and co-workers and also enable young people to showcase their talents in different skills.
Children and youth who usually develop abnormal behaviors and experience learning difficulties continue to receive individual counseling in order to give them the opportunity and support they need to resolve any issues at hand. The Admin team supports such children to recover from an upsetting experience; together we explore thoughts and feelings. We examine beliefs and work towards making healthy changes.
To conclude, this is the voice of the children at SOS Children’s Village Basse: “We are very happy here! We have caring mothers, we have a nice house and clothes, we each sleep in our beds, and have our own cupboards. As a family, we do many things together; we eat together, we love each other, we laugh, we play, we dance, we watch TV and even do gardening together. SOS Children’s Village Basse is indeed a loving home for every child.”