Busy finding my way – exciting weeks in Berlin

You can have many homes, but there is always that one place you can truly Flutura_MiniPic_englfeel whole. This, for me, is the SOS Children’s Village Tirana in Albania where I grew up. The small village was always the perfect home for me. So I couldn’t wait to start my internship at SOS Berlin – an opportunity to experience what SOS means to other people. My stay was superbly organized by SOS Kinderdorf Germany so that I would be able to fulfill my three goals.

Kindergruppe

The Mother-Baby-Group is one of many interesting offers of SOS in Berlin.

My first goal was to get to know the structures and programs of SOS in Berlin. In Berlin I had the chance to take part in different programs run by SOS such as the Mother-Baby Group, Gymnastics for senior citizens and in street plays – oh those were simply the best. Though this was something different from my small, traditional village, it was very exciting. All this made me think about the original meaning of “SOS”-Societas Socialis – which means “social community”. I could truly feel how this social community is very much entrenched in all these programs. Continue reading

Brutality of the street

Kätzchen

Browny was the smarter one. Hopefully he found a safe place to stay.

By the time I started working in our office,Tsering_MiniPic2-engl our receptionist had already taken care of three generations of kittens and was already on the fourth generation! The kittens were named Kaalu (Blacky), Kittu (Gray), Browny.  They were our stress relievers.  Whenever any one of us was stressed, we would go out and spend time with our innocent friends.

In life, on any given day, at any given moment, we come across many conflicts and wars.  Every day, the world over, people are fighting to the death over a piece of land, over border disputes, fighting for the ideals they believe in or for their right to survive or to be treated as human beings.  How terrible it must be for human beings who are involved in these conflicts – willingly or unwillingly.

I know it’s not on the same level, but our office kittens were also victims of territorial wars. All three of them were attacked, several times, by a wild cat in the neighborhood. The brutality hit me hard; I couldn’t help comparing this with the stories I hear about the brutality of human beings in the world.  Kittu was the first to lose his life. We were all sad.

Katze

We tried to bring Kaluu to his new home –
but weren’t successful.

We tried to find someone to adopt the cats, but weren’t successful. I couldn’t take them because of the peacocks that come in the mornings and evenings to get food and water from our terrace. One day also Browny disappeared and never returned. He was the smarter one, so hopefully he has found a safe place to stay.  But Kaalu, who was weak and frequently attacked, stayed.

Finally one of our colleagues – via Facebook – found an animal lover who was willing to adopt Kaalu. One day, after office hours, we picked Kaalu and said goodbye to him. But the moment we put him into the car he jumped out and hid under the car. We tried hard to put him in the car again but failed. My colleague had an idea to bring a basket which could be shut and try again the next day. We left Kaalu alone for the evening.

The following morning we found him dead with serious injuries on his neck. My colleague wept silently.  None of us could do anything.

Whenever I read or hear about territorial conflicts such as Doklam, the Bhutan border conflict between China and India these days it reminds me of the horrific injuries suffered by the kittens.

However, unlike the cats, human beings have the power to end the conflicts and bring peace – if only they would utilize that power.

 

A child inside an adult’s body

Kinder mit Masken

I took this photo last month in Tirana on a summer camp. It expresses exactly what I want to say.

“It is astonishing how sometimes in our Flutura_MiniPic_engllifelong journey we seek to discover the power of independence by feeling like a child inside an adult’s body.
And sometimes like euphoric ‘little Kids’, with the happiness that comes from within acting as an energy booster, we love others with no expectations – 
Just love.”

 

The kids club is making an impact

Kids Club

Every Friday children come to the Kids Club. We do a lot of activities with them.

It is every leader’s desire to educate the children in their community so that MiniPic_Helenathey will be good and responsible people in the future. Ondangwa Social centre is therefore running a kids club where we meet with children every Friday. The children are placed into three groups, namely: the lower primary, upper primary and youth. This is done to make it easy to work with them and to make sure that they are comfortable. Continue reading

Coming home for marriage

Hochzeit im Kinderdorf

Alfred and his wife Erjona celebrated their wedding in the SOS Chldren’s Village Tirana

This month I got inspired by a former SOS youth who amazed everyoneFlutura_MiniPic_engl by providing living proof of what “Home sweet Home” truly means. 26 year old Alfred Muharemi shares his story with us.

“I, as a former SOS youth, decided to celebrate my marriage in SOS Children’s Village Albania, because I felt I had to come back Home – to the place where I grew up.

In the maternity ward, soon after I was born, my mother –  for emigration reasons, decided to abandon me. It has been so long now and I still have no information about my biological family. Continue reading

Foster families instead of orphanages

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with my colleague Victor Anton_MiniPic_englwho mentioned that the number of children living in orphanages has decreased by half in the Murmansk region over the past few years. Wow! How happy I was to hear that – especially since SOS played an important role in this.

FAMILY FOR EVERY CHILD

In this post I would like to tell you about some big changes that have been made to the child welfare system in Russia which have led to some great results.

In 2013 the approach to caring for orphaned children in Russia was significantly revised with the adoption of a new state policy on children. Among the many important things stipulated in the policy was the placing of priority on family-based care over institutional care. That meant that children without parental care were to be placed with other families rather than in orphanages. The phrase ‘a child should be cared for in a family setting’ has become the official state position. Continue reading

Indignation is not an answer

Erinnerung an AlexanderAlexander

His suffering ended eight months after he was born. That is when he died.

The sad story of Alexander did not begin on the day of his death. He came from a dysfunctional family – had addicted parents, lived in poverty, suffered abandonment, had no love in his short life. He was all alone in life. But everyone knew about him when he died.

This caseAutorenbild_Libertad of a baby that was taken to a state home and later died under strange circumstances was at the center of attention of local media for a whole year. Several investigations were carried out which brought to light the fact that Alexander had been abandoned. Three years have gone by since the heartbreaking day he was buried. To this day, the exact circumstances leading to his death remain unknown. Continue reading

Beauty in Nature, Happiness in Beauty and Health in Happiness

It is one of the hottest months of the year in India.  Temperatures have risen Tsering_MiniPic2-englbeyond 40 degrees Celsius.  Many people place out food on their verandas or on the roadside for stray dogs and pigeons. We also place food and water on our terrace for the birds to have something to eat and drink so they won’t die of thirst or hunger.   Everybody is talking about the hot weather.  I feel very sad when my plants are dying because of the heat.

Pfau in Indien

Every morning my husband feeds the birds on our terrace. This morning  peacock came.

Then I receive an email from my colleague, Simone, regarding my next blogpost.  Her email says: In Germany, summer is coming. It is green everywhere and there are lots flowers.   For a moment my memory goes back to the time we spent together in Holland. I am taken back to the lots of greenery and to the wide variety of flowers we saw – especially on our visit to Keukenhof.  Simply thinking of such views carries a soothing smile from my soul to my face.

I had to write my article for the blog and was thinking to myself: on what topic will it be?  Simone’s mail and my memories inspired me to write this article through which I could share some beautiful moments in my life where nature had a strong impact on my mood and on my life. Continue reading

What we do to help parents deal respectfully with their children

It is every parent’s wish to raise a child well with respect and to give the child a MiniPic_Helenabright future. Back in the day, parents believed that when raising a child, you needed to beat them up in order to get them to be obedient and respectful. Oh YES! It was like that for me too. We always used to get beaten up when we had done something wrong. What I believe to have been and to still be one of the contributing factors for this is that our parents did not have information about good parenting and were not educated. Many parents today lose their children because the children get tired of being beaten up and run away from the family home. Such circumstances destroy the future of the child.

In parenting workshops the mothers and fathers learn how they can best raise their children.

In parenting workshops the participants learn how they can best raise their children.

Nowadays, children are protected and can be raised in a good way because parents are now being given parenting / child safeguarding workshops that educate them on how they can best raise their children without hurting them. This kind of information also aims to break cultural beliefs of thinking that beating is a way of teaching a child. The safety of children is SOS’s priority. Therefore, SOS gives the necessary information to parents so that they understand that child abuse is not accepted and that it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure children are not abused. The FSP caregivers are learning a lot on parenting, journey of life, and child safe-guarding issues. Children are also being given lessons on children’s rights. Participating in these lessons helps them to know where to report if they find themselves in abusive situations and they also learn to be responsible young people. This, we believe, will make a positive contribution towards their future. Continue reading

My Role Models

For me SOS is a voluminous novel containing so many chapters, characters Flutura_MiniPic_england human history of the most diverse of natures. SOS is also a skyscraper. As a child you have to go through so many stairs and floors, until you reach the top.

That is the moment when you choose to be grateful for the life you lived and experienced. That’s where I stand now!

You may all know what SOS is, but what you probably don’t know is that you can find treasures over there – The kind of treasures that express all their potential by constructing our personalities. Day in and day out, year after year, they carried that invincible spirit.

Youth

My friends, the Youth Leaders and me – a team!

When you have gone out and lived your independent life away from SOS, you’ll look back and there they’ll be.

It has always been them! I am so proud of who I am becoming thanks to their contributions to my life. I would have loved to mention all the staff members of SOS Children’s Village Albania, but right now the dearest to my heart are the Youth Leaders of “Youth Facility nr. 1” program in Tirana, Albania.

“Nik thank you for being a hero. I used to call you “My second Dad” but I am not going to use that phrase anymore. Because actually, you have always been the number one!

Nic

I used to call Nic my second dad, but actually he always has been number one.

My Lumi, as years go by, in my eyes you’re still the most attractive Dame, with a brilliant noble heart!

Jonush, I still crave the lessons of love, beauty, life and everything we both shared within a Hug!

Aida, thank you for the unconditional care. Your simplicity still remains my favorite!

Oh and Majli, unfortunately you have moved to another SOS Program but you are deeply missed. I love you for the long sincere conversations we had! “

So, I have presented you with my Role Models in life – they all should be honored with gold medals.