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SOS Children from Tlokweng in Botswana – in their own words

SOS Children’s Village Tlokweng was the first SOS Village to be built in Botswana, in 1986. Recently, filmmakers visited the Village to find out from the children and the SOS mothers living there how they felt about their lives in the Village.

SOS Children’s Village Tlokweng is located in a suburb of the capital, Gabarone. The Village provides a home for 268 children and young people, where they can stay with their SOS family until they reach independence. Young children attend the SOS Nursery on the Village site (which is also open to children from the community), and older children are pupils at the local government schools, which are all within walking distance of their homes.

Each family house of up to 12 children is headed by an SOS mother, supported by an SOS ‘aunt’ to help her with household chores. Muniye is one of the SOS mothers in the Tlokweng Village. She says that the thing she likes most about being an SOS mother is giving the children love, particularly because many children come from backgrounds where they have been neglected. “The most important thing is caring and giving them warm love to them, because they need love, that is the most important thing – love." She recognises the importance of letting her children know when they have done well and encouraging them to realise their potential, “You have to hug them you every time when they’ve made something good…you have to show them that you support what they’ve done.”

Laone, 14, is a young girl who came to live at the Village following her mother’s death five years ago. She lives in house four of the 16 family homes on the Village site, with her four sisters and three brothers. Laone settled into the Village well and feels comfortable in her SOS family “My SOS mother is like my real mother” she explains, "I feel safe here, it is my home.” Her mother encourages her to do his best at school and offers support to help her to overcome any problems she faces “She is the one who guides me in good things…she is the one who guides you in your future.” Laone works hard to pass her studies and wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

When older children are approaching independence, they move into one of the three SOS Youth Homes. Here, they are supported by qualified youth workers whilst they complete their studies, and are encouraged to gradually take responsibility for all aspects of their lives. Tshimologo moved from his SOS family home into the Youth Home when he was 16. He explains what kind of activities the young people take responsibility for, “We go for shopping for ourselves, we clean for ourselves, we cook for ourselves, we do laundry for ourselves.” He feels that the experience is helping him to learn how to become self-sufficient “they are training us to be in a situation whereby we can stand by ourselves, without the help from the Village”. Even when a young person is ready to leave the Youth Home, they regularly return to the Village to visit their family. 

SOS Children have three SOS Villages and five SOS Youth Homes in Botswana where we provide direct care for over 550 children and young people. In addition, we run two SOS Social Centres which run Family Strengthening Programmes to support vulnerable families in the community to stay together.

We are currently appealing for sponsors for children living in Tlokweng Botswana.