July 24 2008

First children admitted to new SOS Children's Village in Mozambique

24/07/2008 - SOS Children's Village Inhambane recently accepted the first group of children who will live in a family of SOS brothers and sisters of various ages under the care of an SOS mother who will take care of the children as if they were her own. Eventually, 150 children will live in the village in 15 family houses.

Photo: Michael Langhans
New family houses in Inhambane - Photo: M. Langhans

SOS Children's Villages Mozambique has recently opened a new SOS Children's Village in Inhambane on the coast in the south of Mozambique. The village comprises 15 family houses, which will soon be home to 150 children who have either been orphaned or abandoned. Previously, the children will have had no permanent home or will have lived in a home in which they were at risk of abuse.

At SOS Children's Village Inhambane, as in each SOS Children's Village the world over, the children will live with a group of SOS brothers and sisters of various ages under the care of an SOS mother who will take care of the children as if they were her own. If there are true siblings, they will be cared for in the same family home.

Children such as five year old Molina* will be finding a new home and a loving mother, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of family life in a caring and vibrant community.

Molina's mother passed away when Molina was very young. Little Molina was left at home with her older brother while their father went out to fish, and often, to drink. Molina and her brother had to fend for themselves, which meant that as soon as she could walk, Molina had to fetch water for drinking and for use around their house, which was made from reeds and other bits and pieces. When Molina's brother contracted malaria and died, she was basically left on her own. Although social welfare in Inhambane Province were aware of her situation, before SOS Children's Village Inhambane opened, there was nowhere where they could find support for Molina.

Alberto* came to live at the village on 3 June. He is five years old, but seems mature beyond his years. His mother is disabled and can not walk and was having difficulties in caring for the young boy. The family, who lived in Jangamo district of Inhambane, did not have enough money to get support or assistance of any kind for Alberto's mother. Soon after Alberto was born, his father left the family to work in the mines of South Africa to try and earn money for the family. However, Alberto and his mother never heard from him again. Alberto's mother relied on goodwill of neighbours to provide her and her son with food.

Photo: J. Dufty
The local leader became aware of Alberto and his mother and the situation that they were in and sought the assistance of social welfare for the province. After the necessary enquiries, and the permission of his mother, Alberto came to live at SOS Children's Village Inhambane. The community is now able to concentrate on assisting his mother with her needs, while the community, and his mother, know that Alberto will now have opportunities far beyond the means that his mother and the community would have been able to provide.

Alberto appears to have started to settle in and is adjusting to his new life. He has even started attending the SOS Kindergarten which is near to his house. "I'm learning to do many things - like drawing and painting," grins Alberto. He is already looking forward to 'big school' and has discovered that as well as being close to the kindergarten, his new house is near to SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Inhambane, where he will start in Grade 1 next year. For now though, he is busy making new friends and, like little boys all over the world, playing with sand and water.

Molina and Alberto are just two of the children who now live at SOS Children's Village Inhambane who have moved on from a difficult past where they lived in vulnerable situations without many of the things that most children take for granted. A past where basic rights such as access to adequate shelter, education, health care were jeopardised.

Living in an SOS Children's Village, in a caring family environment, with the support of specialist co-workers available and quality facilities such as schools will help these children to grow up into well rounded, well adjusted, independent adults who will have had the benefit of the love of a caring family environment.

The official opening of the SOS Children's Village in Inhambane will take place on 13 October2008 in the presence of SOS Children's Villages President Helmut Kutin.

*For privacy reasons, the names of the children were changed.