"I still remember when we lived apart. That was three years ago” says Patricia, the eldest of seven children. “My brothers and sister are still too small to remember, but I am sure that one day they will realize how wonderful it is to be together...the seven of us, living as a family."
It has been three years since this group of brothers and sisters arrived at SOS Children's Village Quilpué. Their parents were unable to care for them and the children were split up by social services and placed in different childcare centres. They were separated for a long time and had practically no contact with each other during that time. The children were wary of new people, were quiet and distrustful.
After consultation with the relevant authorities, it was decided that it was in the best interests of the children to live together as a family at the SOS Village in Quilpué. An SOS social worker from the Village collected the children from their different chilldcare centres to take them to their new home, where their SOS mother was awaiting their arrival. As the social worker explains, "as we picked up the first child, and then the second, the excitement grew and grew: the kids would jump for joy every time they met another brother or sister. It was like the pieces of a puzzle coming back together to reconstruct a family photo."
When the children arrived at the Village, their SOS mother was at the entrance waiting for them. Their house was decorated with colourful balloons and their new SOS mother had baked a welcome cake. The children were shown their new home, where they would all be living together under the same roof.
Patricia is now twelve and is grateful for the guidance and love her SOS mother has shown her and her brothers and sisters. "Thank God for having given us a mother like the one we have now. She gives us a lot of affection and is always with us.” She says “Now, I understand what it is to live as a family."
All of the children, including the youngest who is just four, are doing very well at the Village. They enjoy playing together, helping their SOS mother at home, and sometimes getting up to mischief, just like any other children. Most of all, the children enjoy living together as a family, making up for the time they lost when they were apart.
Our 500 Children’s Villages across the world provide 78,000 children like Patricia and her brothers and sisters with a new home, a mother, and a family life. SOS Children never separate brothers and sisters when they arrive to live in our Villages, and we always make sure they live together in the same SOS family. You can help to give more children in need a family by sponsoring a child.