Recently I had the great opportunity to join the Global Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) Team Meeting which this time took place in the Philippines – in Cebu to be exact, the second largest city in the country.
As part of our meeting, the whole team had the opportunity to spend one afternoon in the SOS Children’s Village in Cebu. SOS Children is an organisation which supports children without parental care and families in difficult living conditions in 134 countries around the world. SOS Children’s Village Cebu, opened in 1982 as the country’s fourth SOS Children’s Village, currently consists of eleven family houses, the village director’s house, a community centre and a library. The smaller children are looked after at the Kindergarten and, for the older ones, there is an Youth Facility which is affiliated to the project. As of 2007, the SOS Children’s Villages launched its family strengthening programmes to support vulnerable families and enable them to take good care of their children.
Meeting the kids
When our team arrived at the Children’s Village, we were eagerly awaited by all kids and “mothers” and I felt comfortable right away. The SOS team as well as the “mothers” and the kids showed us around the place and gave us an idea of what it is like to live there – from both perspectives. I had the chance to talk to women who had chosen to become an SOS Children’s Village mother and it was a real pleasure to listen to them and hear them proudly telling stories about the different children they are taking care of day to day.
Contrary to my expectations, the kids themselves were not shy at all and I was very impressed by how well educated, open-minded and cheerful they are, even though all of them share a difficult past. The way the kids are encouraged, not only on an educational level, but also in their talents and personal preferences, was really impressive. Therefore I’m glad that the adidas Group decided to support this institution with funding on a permanent basis.
An irreplaceable memory
Since there were so many different things to do and to see , like visiting the houses, doing wall painting and sports with the kids as well as talking to them and the mothers, time went by quite fast. For me, one of the best parts was definitely when the kids were performing a little “welcome adidas show” including singing, dancing and sports-related performances. To speak for myself, I really had a thought-provoking day full of great experiences including fun, action and positive vibes.
So I left the Children’s Village with a lot of impressions and memories. And with a little handmade lucky charm that one of the kids gave to me. What really made it so special was not the item itself, but the personal story and meaning behind it and the intention why the kid gave it to me.