|Posted by cigarra-eng on January 25, 2010 at 3:52 PM|
I take the opportunity to wish you and your families all the best for the coming year. May it be filled with joys, challenges and the fulfillment of hopes and dreams cherished and long desired.
All told, Cigarra has had a good year, despite some ups and downs.
With your generous help we were able to increase the numbers of children attending our daycare from 110-120. This is the maximum we can help without compromising the quality of care.
We have five student groups:
n The first group of infants, “Semillitas,” little seeds in Spanish, range in ages form 3 months to 2 years; there are 15 in total. When they become toilet trained they move to the next group. We have two teachers in this room, María and Daniela, mothers both.
n The next group, “Angelitos,” little angels, are 2 and 3 years old; we have 25 in total. Amparo, just this year completed her studies for a degree in Portland, thanks to the support of one of our biggest donors, St George’s School.
n The 3 and 4 year olds, also 25 in number, are our “Tigrillos,” little tigers. They are taught by Jaqueline who has a degree in Preschool. She is a gifted music teachers and member of a group that performs typical Colombian music. She rotates to the other clasees to teach music and dance. In time we hope to form a little”Tuna,” or choral ensemble with the two older groups.
n Marcela teaches the twenty-five, 4 to 5 year olds, “Fruticas,” our little fruits. She received her degree in Preschool this past month, having been sponsored by Cigarra. When these children graduate from our preschool, we endeavor to place them all in the local schools in the surrounding area.
n Our fifth group is made of children ages 6 to 12 who attend school either in the morning or the afternoon. Cigarra cares for 15 children in the morning by providing breakfast and lunch, and then leave for school. In the afternoon we receive another 15 children who have already attended school in the morning. They receive lunch and a snack and leave at 4pm. All are given help with their homework and are taught music, dance and art. This class the, “San Jorge,” are taught by Patricia, who has just finished her degree as a Preschool teacher.
In Cigarra, self-improvement is our credo. Just as we stress its virtues to our children, so too we encourage staff to seek better opportunities, emphasizing the value of pursuing a higher education. Toward this end we offer them direct sponsoring or assistance finding sponsors outside of Cigarra.
Gladys and Jaimey, mother and daughter attend our kitchen. They prepare breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks for 120 children plus staff! It’s a remarkable endeavor and we are fortunate to have them, always too in good spirits.
Staff also includes Esther Julia, in charge of the laundry, and two watchmen, Misael and Servio Julio for night, weekend and holiday watch.
Claudia Mejía, our new administrator since September, ahs found her life’s calling and is very happy with us. Andrea Garcés works part time, scouting out donations, organizing sponsorship programs and other aid such as the WFP for the United Nations.
We are indeed lucky to be included in the United Nations World Food Program. Starting August we have been receiving monthly such food items as cooking oil, panela (brown sugar blocks), dried peas and Bienestarina (a food supplement), which as required we distribute to needy families. Of course, since our inception, Cigarra has been distributing food to our families.
Thanks to the ABCC group (Association of British Colombian Charities) we were able to acquire a plot of land. With the help of an anonymous donor, earlier this year we bought the adjacent lo and now own most of the land needed to build a playground where the children can play. With the assistance of yet another donor, two more plots will be purchased shortly. We can’t wait to see this dream fulfilled!
On May of this year we bought a small house close to the day care center. We plan to use it as a multipurpose room. After we remodel the place, we will have an indoor play area for the children on rainy days and will also have some office room for a social worker to provide individual and community support services. This program will be developed in partnership with Servivienda.
This year Cigarra, in association with Servivienda, a non-for-profit organization that builds low-income housing, has been able to help 10 families to buy their home. Although it is not Cigarra’s policy to aid in the construction of unstable houses, due to the appalling living conditions of 2 families, we helped them with materials for their shanty dwellings. Recently there has been an increase in families arriving to the neighborhood from the countryside. The Government has been removing armed groups from areas they previously controlled; consequently, insurgents are displacing families in the wake of the evacuation and we are now in the active process of helping 5 new families with building and buying a home.
Our primary medical program has fallen short of expectation due to problems with the previous administrator. We now have a new person and guidelines. We trust this will bring the program in line with the goals we have set for the coming year: dental checkups every 6 months; vaccination brigades every 3 months and primary health and family planning every 2-3 months.
Cigarra also participates in some other projects. It belongs to a network of non-profits that work in Ciudad Bolivar, and has outreach programs with this network and other NGOs citywide. We have been able to cut our food purchasing costs subsequently by buying our food from the Catholic Food Bank, and we also participate in some of their programs.
In summary, our projects for 2005 are: purchasing of the remaining land necessary for building the playground for Cigarra’s children and community; remodeling the new house to be used as a multipurpose room; continuing to provide aid for housing and community improvement, and finally, continuing and expanding our primary health services.
Our heartfelt thanks again to all who have helped and believed in our work. Yu validate what we do and encourage us to continue.
President and Founder