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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sports clubs are a popular summer holiday activity at SOS Villages
Summer break at SOS Children’s Villages is jam-packed with fun activities for children of all ages. It is a time where children can discover new talents, socialise and be active. We plan a range of summer activities from field trips to art lessons.
With July just around the corner, many SOS schools are starting to close for the summer. We take a look at how two Villages in Ethiopia Makalle and Hawassa – are keeping busy this summer.

Cultural learning in Makalle, Ethiopia 

Ethiopia is filled with many historical landmarks and natural wonders. At the Makalle Village (spelled Mek'ele in the local language), children 14 years and over have the chance to visit historical sites on their summer break. One ancient city they visit is Axum and its royal tomb. 
SOS girls mark the Ashanda ceremony in Makalle, Ethiopia
SOS children singing and dancing at the Ashanda festival
Children of all ages visit numerous museums such as the Hawelti Museum, where the children learn about the royal history of Ethiopia.The children under 14 years old visit a local amusement park in Makalle, where they enjoy bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, horse riding, roller coasters and other amusement games. The children also travel to the Quiha Zoo. 

Religious festivals

Throughout the year, several festivals take place in northern Ethiopia. SOS Children makes a conscious effort for our children to participate in the festivals. Ashanda is one popular festival that takes place close to the Makalle Village. It is a colourful festival where women dress in traditional clothing known as ‘Tilf’ and their hair is weaved into a cornrow called ‘Kunano’. The crowd walks in a line down the main street in Makalle while drumming and singing traditional songs.

Fun in clubs in Hawassa, Ethiopia

At the Hawassa Village in Ethiopia, we try to keep the children as busy as possible through a range of enjoyable games and activities. Children have the option to join various clubs where they can develop new skills and talents. There is a football club where professional coaches teach the children how to play. There is also a scouts club where children learn about first aid, conservation and navigation.
Taekwondo lessons at the Makalle Village in Ethiopia
The children at the Makalle Village have the opportunity to learn Taekwondo during their summer holiday
The Village also travels to Lake Langano, a popular lake just north of the Village. Here, children participate in water sports, horse riding, nature walks, beach football, and have the chance to see a variety of birds, hippos, baboons and warthogs.

Passion for running

The children also participate in organised events. One special event is the Great Run Race which is organised by Ethiopian Olympic gold medallist, Haile Gebrselassie. This event encourages children to stay active. The children practise well in advance and stretch together on the big day.
Saron is one of the SOS children who has a passion for running. She explains that being able to participate in the Great Run Race is very important to her. Saron was awarded a medal after completing the 5k children’s race. “I was so excited when I crossed the finish line and received my medal from Haile Gebrselassie. When he gave me the medal he encouraged me to continue practising because I will be a famous athlete when I grow up,” says Saron.

Caring for the community

Aside from field trips and clubs, children at SOS Children’s Villages also have the chance to help their local community. At certain Villages, children have the option to volunteer a few hours of their summer in local projects such as environmental protection, litter clean up, beautification activities and offering their moral support at local hospitals.