February 24 2009

Families in Mogadishu return to the SOS Children's Village

24/02/2009 - 21 February was for once, a very happy day for the SOS families in Mogadishu as they moved back into the family houses in the children's village.

At 7.30 am on 21 February the first SOS family moved back into the village and by 10.30 all the families were in their houses. Almost immediately the SOS mothers started preparing lunch and at 12.30 all the children were happily eating lunch at their homes.

Preparation for the big move lasted four days as the mothers and older children cleaned up their family houses. Only two houses, badly damaged in the fighting, were not ready, but those families moved in with other families in the village.

Very excited to be back

According to the village director, Osman Shukri, the SOS mothers and children were very exited to be back in their SOS homes. “Children were running from house to house to meet their neighbours whom they hadn't seen for about a year” he said, “since they had been living in different parts of the city. Mothers and children were happily sorting out their homes with lots of energy”.

Osman Shukri also said that the SOS co-workers were so happy to receive the children and youth back to the village. They loudly commented, he added, that the village has become alive with the presence of children and youth moving and playing around.

The SOS families moved out of the children's village in December 2007 after mortar shells hit the village killing one SOS auntie and injuring an SOS mother. Since then the area has been occupied by Ethiopian troops pursuing insurgents. The troops pulled out earlier this year and the area has become peaceful once more. The SOS hospital continued to operate throughout most of that period but many people found it difficult to reach because of army road blocks. Now that the troops are gone the hospital will once again be operating at full capacity.

Osman Shukri concluded that “all the children, youth, SOS mothers, aunts and co- workers are praying for peace to prevail in order for all of us to remain as one big family in the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu”.