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Two sisters together through tough times

Hannah and Elizabeth are now able to play and enjoy their childhood
Hannah and Elizabeth are now able to play and enjoy their childhood

Monika, an SOS mother in Ondangwa, Namibia, is empowering orphaned children to follow their dreams. When sisters Hannah and Elizabeth joined the family, Monika encouraged them to give their all at school and today their hard work is paying off.

SOS Children’s Villages provide children with quality education and access to medical care. For the most vulnerable, we offer a loving home in an SOS family headed by a local woman called an SOS mother. Hannah, 14, and her nine-year-old sister Elizabeth, joined our Ondangwa Village in 2012.

Hannah and Elizabeth are orphans who were living with their grandmother before they came to the SOS Village. Their grandmother’s home was located several miles walk from school and Hannah was only able to make the trek once a week.

A struggle to survive

Their grandmother did not earn a steady income needed to care for two young children. When money became tight, meals became more infrequent. Often the girls would be at home alone while their grandmother looked for work and they often spent the day without a single meal. Both Hannah and Elizabeth’s health quickly deteriorated. Eventually, Hannah could not bear to leave her younger sister home alone on the one day a week she went to school, so she stopped going to school altogether. The administrative staff at Hannah’s school noticed and decided to investigate why. Hannah was a rising star in school and they were concerned.

When the staff went to Hannah and Elizabeth’s grandmother’s home, the girls were nowhere to be found. The staff began looking in the surrounding area and found Hannah wandering among some wild fruit bushes.There was no sign of Elizabeth. The case was brought to a social worker who located the grandmother living in a hostel with Elizabeth. It was clear that she was unable to adequately care for the girls. It was quickly decided that they would join the SOS Children’s Village in Ondangwa, and a few days later, Hannah and Elizabeth were welcomed with open arms into SOS mother Monika’s family. 

Education is key

The girls were both enrolled in school as soon as they arrived at the Village. Although Hannah showed potential at her last school, they could not provide proof that she completed successfully passed any exams. As a result, both of the girls started at the SOS nursery. “I knew it would be hard for Hannah, but that it was the best solution for her future success,” says Monika.

Two sisters sit on jungle gym at the Ondangwa Village in Namibia
These two sisters now have an SOS mother and brothers and sisters at the Ondangwa Village

Hannah was taller and older than the other children in the nursery class. She explains that she felt quite uncomfortable in class but her SOS mother kept her strong. “My mum encouraged me and said age does not matter as long as I do my best,” says Hannah. Hannah graduated from nursery and went on to pass levels one, two and three, even earning an academic award.

“It is no longer awkward for me in school and now I know I want to be a pilot,” says Hannah, who is now in level four."I don't want to think about what could have happened if I did not come to the SOS Village, but, I am excited to think about what will happen next."

Both Hannah and Elizabeth have settled into their new home with their SOS mother Monika and their SOS brothers and sisters. The two sisters now have a safe shelter, access to healthcare and education, food and love. SOS mother, Monika explains that she knows that education is the best way to inspire the next generation, so homework and class attendence are a priority in her home. 

“Despite the difficulties she faced, I think Hannah will become a leader in her community one day. She is a very focused and caring young lady,” says Monika.

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