Islamabad – With plenty of goodies to eat, the little girls and boys at SOS Children’s home enjoyed a delicious Iftar banquet – a long-awaited moment for orphans and abandoned children which they greeted with a shy smile, donning their best clothes. Ramadan Iftar dinner, organised by the Islamabad Serena Hotel for some 200 orphaned children and staff of SOS Children’s Village in Rawalpindi, was indeed a heartening initiative amidst a blissful Ramadan atmosphere promoting the spirit of giving and sharing.
As the Iftar time drew near, the children playing on the swings and slide in the garden, slowly made their way into the open area where an array of delicious feasts presented with tasteful décor was awaiting them. To the surprise of visitors, the children showed remarkable discipline in taking Iftar food items – a sight rarely witnessed even at VIP Iftar parties.
The great energy of goodwill emanating from the smiles of every person was a real feel-good experience. “I am delighted to spend time and share an Iftar Dinner with the SOS community! The children are remarkably joyful and confident individuals” expressed Michel A. Galopin, General Manager of the Serena Hotel. The Iftar banquet was part of the host’s efforts to support the well being of the unfortunate ones. The Serena Management is following a policy of encouraging those children by providing them technical schooling of their choice of field and offering potential job opportunities, the GM informed.
SOS Children’s Villages of Pakistan is a private social welfare organisation providing orphans and abandoned children a new home, good nurturing and a fair chance in life. It is not just a shelter but a permanent home where they remain in SOS care until they are able to lead independent lives. The Village, located in a quiet and serene landscape leaving behind the noise of Rawalpindi city, consists of individual small homes with gardens, pets and playing field. The biggest SOS complex of Pakistan encompasses separate Girls and Boys High School, youth hostel as well as for technical training institutes and a dispensary providing dental care.
“An SOS Village is the community in which the child lives and finds shelter and support from other members of this extended family” enlightened Mrs Nasim Muzaffar, SOS Village Chairperson. The village has 20 Family Homes. It was a compact living unit, with a happy family, provided with all modest facilities. Each Home consists of a living area, kitchen, separate bedrooms for girls and boys, and a room for the mother. The caretaker of each home is called ‘mother’, and kids are considered brothers and sisters so as to give them the feeling of a real family life. “It is in the home that the children find security, a feeling of ‘belonging’ and having their own place in the world.”
The village presents a sense of society and a structure that integrates the mothers, children, social workers and volunteers in an attempt to provide every opportunity for the child to develop into a happy, confident and productive person.