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International Day of the Family 2012

Kaikara has found a home with SOS Children
Kaikara has found a home with SOS Children

Today, 15th May 2012, marks the UN International Day of Families, an annual event recognising the significance of the family. SOS Children believe that all children deserve to live as a family, with a mother and brothers and sisters.

We work around the world to provide a family for life for hundreds of thousands of children, by supporting them to stay with their biological family or giving them a home as part of an SOS family.

These are two stories of how SOS Children have enabled children to grow up as part of a family.

A family at last

Kaikara, three, lives in Uganda. After her father died, she was forced to live on the streets with her alcoholic mother, and fend for herself.  Her mother was unable to take care of her and one day just disappeared. A year ago Kaikara came to live at SOS Children's Village Gulu, and has found a new home there, with a new mother, brothers and sisters. She is now attending the SOS Nursery. Many children who come to live at SOS Children's Village are severely traumatized when they first arrive. They are often introverted and shy at first. "It was like that with Kaikara, too," says her nursery teacher Lilian. "It was difficult to have contact with her. She wouldn't play with the other children and was very withdrawn. But, with time, she opened up more and more. She plays with other children and her brothers and sisters. When you talk to her, she looks at you and keeps on chatting and chatting."

Mavis is Kaikara’s SOS mother. Including Kaikara, she is mother to twelve children. "I take care of the children as if they were my own” Mavis says “I play with them, talk to them and help with their homework. I am their mother. I feel everything a mother would feel. I want to do this job for the rest of my life, so that Kaikara and other children can become happy and independent adults."

Helping Lidia to raise her family

Lidia is a single mother who has six small children. She was living on her own in Mar del Plata, Argentina, struggling to afford to raise her children. Lidia worked long hours at a farm and earned so little that she couldn't even feed herself. She had to leave her children on alone during the day so that she could earn an income, and the family would only see each other for a short time at night.

Then Lidia came across the SOS Social Centre "Las Tortuguitas" (The Lovely Turtles) that had recently opened in her area. The programme offers services for families in the local community, particularly those from a disadvantaged background. Lidia asked staff if she would be eligible for help. With the help of the programme, the family were able to get back on their feet. Lidia’s five-year-old son Lautaro had a problem with one of his hands, so SOS staff helped him to access surgery and ensure he got the aftercare he needed. Her son was treated a few months ago and is recovering well. Nine-year-old Rocio was underweight, but thanks to food packages and nutritional advice, she is now healthy. Thanks to the support of the Family Strengthening Programme Lidia is now able to take care of her family.

When you sponsor a child, you can give them a family for life. Find out more.