SOS Children's Village Calbayog

Sponsored child reading about geography in the SOS Village in Calbayog, PhilippinesIn 1972, the third SOS Children's Village of the country was built in Calbayog in Samar Island, the third largest island of the Philippines. The island is very fertile, and so agriculture plays an important role in its economy. The city is an important exporter of vegetables and other more exotic agricultural produce to the rest of the region.

SOS Children's Village Calbayog consists of twelve family houses, the village director's house and a community house. There is an SOS Kindergarten, which is also open to children from the neighbourhood. In the kindergarten's 4 classrooms, up to 55 children can be taught. The kindergarten also has a kitchen, where the meals for the children are prepared. Next to the SOS Children's Village, there is a home for retired SOS mothers.

In Calbayog, there is also an SOS Social Centre, which provides child day care, counselling and psychological care to the population of the neighbourhood. The SOS Social Centre consists of two rooms for the day-care centre, a kitchen and dining room for the food programme, two offices, a library and a classroom for counselling and education.

In 2007, SOS Children's Villages launched its family strengthening programmes in Calbayog. These programmes are intended to support families at risk of abandoning their children and to encourage families to stay together. SOS Children's Villages therefore works with local authorities and other service providers to support families and enable them to take good care of their children. Family strengthening programmes provide nutritional, educational and health support as well as vocational training, career counselling sessions and job placement support. Families are linked with existing self-help groups; if there is no group, a new one is formed. The programmes also aim at raising awareness of hygiene and child rights and improving people's parenting skills.

In the town centre of Calbayog, there is an SOS Youth Facility. Older boys from the SOS Children's Village normally move to the SOS Youth Facility when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified youth workers, they develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.

In 2009, an SOS Vocational Training Centre was opened in Calbayog. It consists of 14 classrooms, an assembly hall, an administration and service area and accommodation for the participants. The training centre also includes a demonstration farm.