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Helping Belinda grow up safely

Belinda and her mother outside their home
Belinda and her mother outside their home

We believe that wherever possible, children should be brought up their biological parents. We strengthen vulnerable families ability to care for their children, helping them to stay together. Belinda is just one child who has been able to grow up safely with her biological family thanks to support from SOS Children.

We aim to provide as many children as possible with family-based care. In addition to providing 78,000 orphaned and abandoned children with a new family in our Villages, we have 568 projects which support over one million people in the community to stay together as families.

Belinda, a 12-year-old girl, lives with her mother Jane and her five brothers and sisters in City Carton, a slum in the outskirts of Nairobi in Kenya. Her small home is made of mud and scrap metal, with one room inside divided into sections by pinned up sheets.

Belinda’s mother Jane first became a part of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in 2004. When she suffered from a serious liver problem, staff from SOS Children took her to hospital, where she received treatment and became part of the programme.

SOS Children provide free medicines for Jane, which she would not be able to afford otherwise, and gives the family a food package every two months. Belinda has been given a school uniform and school materials so that she can get the most out of her education. In addition, all of the six children are offered regular counseling to help them to deal with their mother’s condition.

Belinda is very close to her mother and shares special moments at home with her every day. It is these moments that make her feel safe and calm her worries about the future. Whether it's cooking together, being read a story at bedtime or being given a kiss, all of these simple actions give Belinda happiness and hope, a feeling of security and comfort, as well as a sense of belonging.
“My special moments with my mum are really special,” she says. “When she gives me a kiss before I go to school it makes my whole day happy and I think about it all the way to school. That kiss makes me feel safe and makes me realise that she really cares for me. I cannot go to school if she doesn’t give me a kiss. I feel there would be something missing.”

Belinda most enjoys the evening times, when her mother reads her stories when she’s in bed. “I look forward to going to bed in the evening because I know she will read me a nice story,” Belinda says. “This for me is the most memorable time of the day. Our house may be small and poor but in that very moment I feel I belong there.“

Our Family Strengthening Programmes (FSPs) aim to prevent children from losing the care of their family. We do this by providing educational support, nutritional guidance, health care, and counseling support for vulnerable families. We also offer training in parenting skills and income-generating activities where needed, strengthening families ability to protect and care for their children. You can read more about our FSPs here.