The community home 'Vida Feliz' (Happy Life) is located in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Estelí in Nicaragua. Established by SOS Social Centre "Estelí Norte", the home is now run by the local community through a family committee; the social centre is in close contact with the local community and provides support to 'Vida Feliz' whenever needed.
The community home currently tends to children from 22 families. Watching the kids at the home makes you feel like they are one big family. But there's much more to it: Recently, 'Vida Feliz' participated in a municipal level contest for the neatest and best- organised child care centre - and won first place!
Ms Glenda Massiel, educator in charge at the community home, remembers, "The representative of the Municipal Ministry of Education (which supervises our home) informed us of the contest 'My clean and healthy school' for community preschools. Enthusiastically, we checked in and started neatening and cleaning the home together with the children. It was very motivating for me to see them happy while helping us with prep work and to experience their ambition to keep the house clean permanently".
"I can't tell you how happy we were when the representative of the Ministry of Education visited us and told us that we had taken first place in the contest. I shared the emotion with my children. I felt even more proud when I found out that we will serve as a fine example to other community preschools," Glenda continues.
Winning such a contest means setting the bar very high for the future; Glenda is aware of that: "Now I feel the challenge of maintaining the high quality level at the home, and I am convinced that we will achieve that. I feel very happy with the achievements I have obtained so far as an educator and hope to be even more efficient in my job next year".
Glenda Massiel got in touch with SOS Children's Villages when she was accepted to the "mother with scholarship" programme by SOS Social Centre "Estelí Norte"; she finished her training in 2005. After that, the family committee of the community home offered her a job, and Glenda happily took the role of community educator.
"I've been here for two years now, and I've grown a lot as a person. I am responsible for the safety of the children, as well as security of materials at the house. Another task is establishing and maintaining adequate relationships with the children's parents", Glenda says. "I am very happy about the opportunity to work here with SOS Children's Villages".
Ms Thelma Talavera, the owner of the location 'Vida Feliz' is operating at, is in charge of food supplies for the community home. Thelma says that she is very happy to be actively involved in 'Vida Feliz' and that she will continue with the programme until the children's mothers look for other options.
22 families are currently benefiting from the programmes at the community home 'Vida Feliz'. During the day, children receive balanced and nutritious meals there; carers help them develop their mental and physical capacities through games, and teach them songs and tongue-twisters to brush up their language skills. In family committee meetings, parents and the educator exchange ideas and perform self-esteem activities; Glenda also counsels parents on how to avoid social risk for their families.