A new uniform The community home "El Arbolito" is the first family strengthening programme of Esteli Este to provide its own uniforms, which children show very proudly. Portrait of three girls (Photo: Sergio Beer)The family strengthening programmes encourage communities surrounding SOS Children's Village Esteli to strengthen their families through strategies such as community homes attended by 15 to 20 children, and community centres that serve more than 60 children, run by the community, but with counselling by the SOS Social Centres' co-workers, so that mothers will not neglect their children while going to work. Since 2003, mothers with scholarships have been working hard to improve conditions for children who attend the community home 'El Arbolito' daily, run by mothers of the community. Mrs Susana Ramirez, 42, who has been working here since the community home opened its gates, and Heidi, 20, are responsible for providing care to the children. A few months ago, mothers in the community who make up the so-called 'Family Committee' held a meeting in which the facility name was chosen. One of the mothers who attended the meeting said: "Why don't children use some kind of uniform or a shirt to distinguish the community home from other centres?" Two girls playing (Photo: Sergio Beer) Susana, another community mother, stood up and raised her hand, saying smilingly: "Why don't we call this community home "El Arbolito" and have a tree as a logo printed on the shirt?" Subsequently, another mother of the community joined, saying: "Why don't we also dress the children in green pants?", which also seemed like a good idea. 'El Arbolito' has been operating for almost five years now and has excelled at organizing their events very well. The day the children wore their uniforms for the first time was full of joy, laughter, music and piñata. The children arrived well-combed and clean, holding hands with their parents in their green uniforms and white shirts, their names printed on it and a tree as a symbol for the facility. In 2007, the coverage percentage was 131% at SOS Social Centre Hermann Gmeiner Esteli Este with 459 beneficiaries, and 143% in community homes and centres attended by 357 children. In total, there are three community centres and five community homes operating.