The SOS Children’s Village which was built earthquake-proof using pre-fabricated elements and was already completed in 1990. In 1992, a SOS-kindergarten was added, which takes in children from the neighbourhood as well. On 18 April 1998 the SOS Children’s Village Kotajk was officially opened in the presence of Mr. Helmut Kutin, president of SOS-Kinderdorf International, and other guests of honour. In February 2001 a SOS Youth Facility was opened, where the youths live during the time of their vocational training or education and prepare themselves for an independent life under the guidance of their youth leaders.
The SOS Children’s Village Kotayk is situated in the city of Kotayk, about 15 km north of the capital of Yerevan. The plot of land measures about 6 ha and was donated by the local authorities. It is perfectly integrated into the public supply system.
The SOS Children’s Village Kotayk consists of 12 family houses, a SOS kindergarten, a Village Director’s house, accommodation for the aunts, a Community House, offices and staff quarters. In spring 1998, the children together with an artist painted some of the family houses.
The charity fund is organizing a long term care of children-orphans with the help of “SOS mother”. The aim of the “SOS mother” is making a real family, bringing up and taking care of children, becoming mother for children for many years, making a real hearth. Each mother has maximum 7 children-orphans and they live all together in a separate cottage. Here in the village children found their new mothers, brothers and sisters.
There’s a SOS kindergarten situated on the territory of the SOS village. The kindergarten is an integrational one, where there are 15 children who live in the SOS village and 8-9 children coming from nearby regions, where there are no kindergartens. This integration with village children gives SOS children a possibility and teach them to make friends with children out of the SOS village. The kindergarten uses the step-by-step method, which means that the main aim is centralized on child’s interests.
There are 3 Youth Facilities in Yerevan. The SOS Facilities are the places where children move after the SOS village after finishing school, when comes the period for them to choose their way, their profession. It’s the most difficult and important period in their life. Here they try to build their own life. Here the life conditions are worse than in the SOS village and it’s done on purpose them to begin to get used to real everyday life by their own, they are becoming a personality. The teenagers are provided with monthly money, that they use on food, clothes, on the things of first necessity. There mustn’t be any pressure on children, they do whatever they want, they choose themselves what to do and how to live.
Objectives and motivation
The main aim of the project is to work with children, to educate and train them. The volunteer will be involved in all programs and will be encouraged to propose his/her own ideas and suggestions. The volunteer will live and work with the local community. Apart from working with the children, he/she will have the possibility to spend his/her free time with them and to learn a lot about Armenia. The volunteer will be involved in discussions and seminars about the future of the children and will be able to share his/her opinion on the situation. It’s preferable the volunteer to have concrete interest, for example, in drawing, dancing, handicrafts, music, teaching skills to be able to organize teaching and playing groups. The volunteer must follow the methods used in the village and kindergarten and play, work with children according to their private interests without making them do the things that he/she wants. Different educational games will be organized as well as physical training. The children can hear another language and learn about the volunteer’s culture which will be a great learning opportunity for them. By the end of this project a big exhibition of art works done by the children will be organized. There can also be organized a performance on different interesting topics. With the help of the volunteer they will be able to organize more workshops, in which the children according to their health can draw, sculpture, sing and dance. The volunteer will have activities in SOS National Office in Yerevan, SOS Village in Kotayk, 3 Youth facilities in Yerevan and will be having trips to village “Family Centers”.
Main tasks of the volunteer will be: The volunteer will participate in most activities with the children and have a variety of different tasks:
- The volunteer will have the opportunity to participate in all arts workshops and to support the staff in organizing these activities (painting, sculpturing, handicrafts, etc.)
- He/she will establish social contact with individual children and their SOS mothers by chats and games.
- He/she will present his/her country and culture to the children
- Maintenance of “Smile house” in the Village, organization of recreational activities for the children
- playing with the children
- social activities, group games etc.
- excursions and outdoor activities
- the volunteer will have the task to help organizing a big exhibition of the art works of the children on different topics
- organizing sport activities in the territory of the village
- Trips to village “Family Centers”- to have discussions with parents who are going to abandon their children, making social projects for them.
Support and training will be provided by the staff of the organization and by the community. The volunteer will be invited to social events and will be supported in learning and practicing basic Armenian language, according to his/her wish. The volunteer will work 5 days per week (approx. 30 hours) and will have weekends off.