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Five years ago, Joseph and his three siblings lost their father and mother to HIV/AIDs.
When the children arrived in the SOS Children’s Village Kigali, their SOS mother, Candide, noticed Joseph was “different”. He was withdrawn and didn’t play with the other children.
Joseph said he felt unhappy all the while because he never got to say goodbye to his mother. Youngsters can find the death of a parent hard to accept, particularly if they don’t spend time with them at the end or go to a funeral.
Candide realised Joseph required professional help. After five months of counselling, Joseph’s behaviour began to change. “My son was steadily finding himself,” says Candide.
Today, Joseph (on the far right in the photo with his biological siblings) says “I now know that it is okay to think about parents and hold on to their memories,” but this no longer makes him sad. The 11-year-old is studying hard at school. Joseph says he would like to go into the medical profession because “a doctor healed me and I would like to pass that on to someone else.”
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Bringing up children can be a tough job, particularly when they become teenagers. In Colombia, two teens presented their SOS mothers and families with different challenges.
At the SOS Village in Cali, Mariselle came home after a spell in a drugs rehabilitation centre. Her SOS mother and siblings were proud of Mariselle’s determination to overcome her problem. But they were also fearful for her. Mariselle herself was afraid of going back out into the world. With the encouragement of her SOS mother, she has returned to school and dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Mariselle now has a new confidence about her future and believes she can “achieve whatever I am committed to get in life”.
14-year-old Ani (pictured) lives at the SOS Children’s Village of Floridablanca-Bucaramanga. Ani wasn’t doing very well at school. Her SOS mother, Elena, wondered if she should therefore repeat a year. But Ani was determined to move up. Unfortunately, she then began to fail tests and turned to her SOS mother for help.
Elena encouraged her to take part in workshops on good studying habits. With practice and determination, Ani’s results improved. To Elena’s joy, she passed the ninth grade. At the end-of-year ceremony, Elena whispered to her daughter “when there is a will, there is a win!”
You can help teens like Elena and Mariselle get the support they need by sponsoring a child in Colombia. Find out how you can make a difference today.