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Our BBC Radio 4 debut!

Alexander in action at the Radio 4 studio in Edinburgh
Alexander in action at the Radio 4 studio in Edinburgh

In August, SOS Children’s Villages UK recorded its first BBC Radio 4 Appeal. We were thrilled that novelist and long-time supporter Alexander McCall Smith agreed to voice this for us.

Born in Africa and a frequent visitor to the continent, Alexander lived in Gaborone, Botswana for a year in 1980. While there, he heard about the work of SOS Children’s Villages and went to see our Village at Tlokweng, a 20-minute drive from Gaborone.

“What impresses me most is that every child gets unconditional love."

Alexander has been a regular visitor to the Village over the years. “What impresses me most is that every child gets unconditional love. Despite their difficult backgrounds, it’s wonderful to see how children thrive, thanks mainly to their SOS mothers. These are wonderful women who are deeply committed. They always have big cheerful smiles on their faces.”

The renowned author also explained how a piece of the Village has worked its way into his literary life. One of the SOS staff members at Tlokweng, Betty Mpodi, was the inspiration for the character of Mma Potokwane in The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. These books have sold over 20 million copies worldwide and so Betty’s fruitcakes are now legendary. But it isn’t only Alexander’s books which have gone on to be so successful. Alexander has noted how well many of the SOS children have done in their studies, some gaining scholarships to top schools. The author says simply that “this success is testament to the wonderful care and encouragement the children receive from their SOS mothers and the Village as a whole.”

Listen to the Appeal

The Appeal raised a total of £17,021 so a huge thank you to everyone who listened and supported!