The school results for the year have not been satisfactory for some children. Following the last meeting of the SPES International Council of Administration, we propose to create a Commission to write a Charter specifying the overall principles of SPES. This should be divided into individual projects for each child. Indeed some of us think that we should explain to the children where they come from, what their responsibilities are, their autonomy, and when and under what conditions they will leave the House of their Childhood. We can also consider how these children can integrate into life in Lomé, at a sportive, handicraft, cultural, intellectual and spiritual level. This Commission would work under the aegis of SPES Togo with the support of all members of the SPES International Council of Administration and all the sponsors who might wish to contribute their ideas.
All the buildings in Lomé are operational. Now we have to clean the site and to build paths between the buildings. So the project in Lomé will be finished when we have accommodated 108 children – during 2009.
Then we propose to find premises in Lomé, to accommodate teenagers, so they could live in intermediate buildings, something between the house of childhood where they live now, and the buildings they will live in when they have jobs and are autonomous.
Again in Lomé, we continue to support the public primary school in Kélégougan, which the children attend, by building 9 new classrooms, all under the control of the pupils’ parents. So we hope to contribute to halving the number of children per classroom to facilitate their work and to get better results, for all the school’s pupils and not just the SPES children.
Now that Lomé will soon be fully operational, we are building a second House of Childhood in Kpalimé (a town 120 Km north west of Lomé) on a plot donated by the municipality. Two dormitories and a refectory are nearly finished, so is the guardian’s house and the Apatam. We now have water on site – through drilling – and electricity – connected by the municipality. We will start the Training Centre and buy a minibus early in 2009, because the site is some distance from the town and school. We will also launch a nursery school with three classrooms in the Zomayi district of Kpalimé, where the existing school is too small to accommodate our future children. We will wait until 2010 to start the last 2 dormitories and the administrative building.
We will begin recruiting and training staff (Manager, Guardian, Tatas and Driver) before the end of 2008, and start thinking about accommodating new children.
But, in line with our philosophy we need sponsors for this, to give lives to our children. So we ask you who are reading this text, and you sponsors to speak to your friends about your experience, in order to find new sponsors for new children. Please don’t forget to tell them that our working budget is for mail, insurance and unavoidable bank charges only. That amounts to less than 0,5%. The rest of the money goes to the children. Only sponsoring makes the children’s future certain.
The rest of the donations are used for building, equipment, development and maintenance. Remember: we build when we have money, and we accommodate children only when we have buildings AND sponsors.
The last meeting of SPES International Council of Administration decided to continue to focus its action on Togo. So the projects in Cameroon and Haiti have been suspended for the time being, all the more important because SPES’s financial situation has been weakened by the economic situation in Iceland, which used to make huge donations to SPES, and which now will have to slow down its help, awaiting improvements in the Icelandic Crown.
Meanwhile, please accept our love and best wishes.
Michelle and Claude Voileau November 2008