‟For every child a loving home!” In an effort to turn this vision into reality, co-workers from SOS Children’s Villages around the world are helping girls and boys in need. They do so with passion, with professionalism, and often with enormous personal commitment – because they live in the countries in which they help. In this blog they talk about the children whom they are helping, but also about the countries they call home. It’s a blog about children and cultures.
Anton Bakanin, Russia
Anton Bakanin is a co-worker in the sponsorship department of SOS Children’s Village Kandalaksha (Russia). In 2008 he graduated from the Petrozavodsk State University with a degree in European Literature and English. Shortly after graduation he went back to his hometown of Kandalaksha and began working as an English teacher at a local school. In 2010 Anton got a part-time position at SOS Children’s Village and was balancing the two jobs until 2012 when his part-time job at the SOS Children’s village became a full-time position. Today he’s responsible for foreign sponsors and this includes giving the foreign sponsors updates on the children living in the SOS Children’s Village. He does the photography, the translations and he writes stories about the children. Anton is happily married and has a son. In his free time Anton likes to spend time with his family, play sports and lift weights at the gym. His motto is: ‘this, too, shall pass’ because it’s very handy. It applies to everything, no matter the situation.
Flutura Brakaj, Albania
My name is Flutura Brakaj and I grew up in an SOS Children’s Village in Albania. I am currently completing the final year of my Bachelors in German Studies at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at the University of Tirana.
My first success came with my participation in the “I matter” advocacy Campaign whose aim was to raise the age of leaving Public Residential Institutions. Since then I have gained experience in communication, volunteerism, advocacy and activism. I am also a member of the International Youth Coalition – a group of active agents of youth reform which contributes to the Strategy 2030 process of SOS International. In addition to that, I have recently begun giving English lessons at a Private High School in Tirana.
I have always believed in positive energy and in the virtue of embracing each feeling. That is why my motto in life is “to FEEL much more than I KNOW.”
Libertad Martinez, Bolivia
Libertad Martinez works for SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia as Communication and Brand National Representative. She got a master degree on Strategic Communication, two post graduate degrees on New Technologies for the Informational Society Development and Communication Research, and graduate diplomas on Journalism Investigation and Higher Education. Since 2001, she worked in different print media as editor and columnist, and also on public administration in Press and Public Relations. Since 2007, she assumed the position of Media Officer in SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia. She is 36 years old and has a daugther.
Libertad is convinced that life gives us great opportunities to not lose our capability of being surprised and overwhelmed. Her motto is: ‘If life gives you wings, use them to fly or, at least, to walk better’.
Tsering Dolkar Kartsang, India
Tsering Dolkar, 51, was seven years old when she was taken in to the SOS Children’s Village Greenfields – the first of a now-total of 41 SOS Children’s Villages in India. Soon, the Children’s Village became her home, and even today she still feels a powerful link to the Village. As a young woman, Tsering Dolkar began working as a personal assistant to J.N.Kaul, the founder of India’s Children’s Villages, and she learned a lot from him. Even after happily marrying her husband, a doctor of Tibetan medicine, she continued to work for SOS Children’s Villages – it’s now been 29 years. Today she’s responsible for press events and brand strengthening. Tsering feels very much at home in her extended family, in which she includes her colleagues, as well as the children and mothers of SOS Children’s Villages. She believes that her work helps to keep the SOS Children’s Villages idea alive as well as project it forward.
Helena Nangombe, Namibia
Helena Nangombe is working as the SOS-Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) Coordinator in Ondangwa Namibia. The aim of the FSP is to empower families in order to enable them to take care of their children.
Helena is a 30 year old strong woman who is living with HIV. She survived sexual abuse. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, Helena had to drop out of school as there was no one to pay for her education. This however did not stop her from aiming high in life – it motivated her to find ways to contribute positively to her community through volunteering to work with orphaned and vulnerable children, tuberculosis patients and people living with HIV.
Before Helena joined SOS Children’s Villages, she worked for the Namibia Women’s Health Network, for the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), was a member of UNAIDS and of the Global coalition on women and Aids (GCWA). She is a founder of the Youth Women Empowerment Network in Namibia. Helena is also studying Project Management through the Southern Business School.
Helena’s Motto is: NOTHING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WITHOUT YOUNG PEOPLE.
Rodrigo Zavalo, Brazil
As a journalist, media communicator and movie critic, I have been working with private companies and NGO’s (including corporate foundations and associations). During the past nineteen years I have gained knowledge about these two sectors which I can incorporate into my efforts as the communication manager at SOS Children’s Villages Brazil. I am 36 years old and I have a little (demonic) beagle named Nina. My moto is: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest hour.” Welcome to Brazil.
Former authors of this blog:
Dudu Dlamini, Swasiland
Dudu Dlamini began working as a social worker for SOS Children’s Villages Swaziland, before becoming the director of the Children’s Village in Mbabane, and then National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Swaziland. She is passionate about working closely with people and thereby helping them make the most of their potential. Dudu Dlamini hopes to make the world just a little bit better, especially for children. As a woman, rising to the position of National Director is a remarkable achievement in Swaziland. “I’ve always had to work a little bit harder,” she says.
Franklin Gakuba Murangira, Rwanda
Franklin Gakuba Murangira works with SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda as an Institutional Partnership Development Manager. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the National University of Rwanda and is currently writing a dissertation for a Master’s Degree in Project Planning and Management. Since 2004, Franklin has worked with development organisations in Rwanda, including World Vision, Africa Humanitarian Action, Care International and also with the Ministry for Gender and Family Promotion where he was an Advisor on Women Empowerment and Family Promotion. His recent work with the Ministry focused on the revision of the National Family Policy. Franklin is 39 years old and is married with three children. The most important thing for him is living a meaningful life where every human cares for another to make living on this world worthwhile.
His motto: “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.
Natasha Montero, Ecuador
Sociologist Natasha Montero, 38, from Ecuador, has lived in a number of different countries and worked in a variety of professions – none of which was as fascinating as her current job. She’s the director of the SOS Children’s Village in Quito, in her home country, Ecuador. Day after day she learns more about the unique reasons people do what they do, and make the decisions they make – even if they’re not always aligned with hers. She feels that everyone is capable of changing their lives if they have the necessary support, and goals in which they believe. Natasha Montero likes spending time with her family,loves cooking with friends, and enjoys listening to music and going for walks.