By Lynn Croneberger
I have just returned from a tour of our Villages in Ethiopia and have many treasured stories to share. I would be remiss if I left out one day in particular.
The sun was shining bright in the town of Mekelle as children filed into a courtyard in the SOS Village. Brightly-colored banners were strung up above an audience of children. Up on stage, a young girl announced that the SOS children had created a cultural performance specifically for my visit.
Music filled the space as four young women began a traditional Ethiopian dance. Next, a line of children formed on stage and two-by-two they paraded down the make-shift runway. Their outfits represented traditional garb from different regions in Africa. Some of the kids performed popular dances that were also related to the regions they represented.
For two hours, these SOS children presented their culture to me. Kids in the audience and even the SOS Moms laughed and danced throughout. It was clear cultural education is a key component of the children’s schooling. You can watch a short clip of the performance here to see for yourself.
The children danced and sashayed with joy and pride in their heritage. To me, each walk down the runway symbolized the strides they are taking toward a better future. SOS Children’s Villages is committed to educating children about their own heritage and history.
Dancing, laughing, and celebrating – the things young children should be doing – are all tangible aspects of the ‘happy childhood’ SOS works to create for children around the world. That afternoon will forever be a reminder as to why we do what we do.
Lynn Croneberger is the CEO of SOS Children’s Villages – USA. You can follow her on Twitter @LynnCroneberger