“Now I have the family I've always been dreaming of, and despite my past I know life has given me a new opportunity by taking me here where I've been growing happier every day.” —Jose, who lives in SOS Children's Village Morelia, Mexico.
At the heart of child sponsorship is a boy or a girl left alone in the world. When you sponsor a child, you can give them a new, flourishing life in an SOS Children's Village.
We know the name and story of every child growing up in a Children's Village, and how they became orphaned or abandoned. Here are a few of their stories.
- Meet Mouna in Uganda (interactive)
- Meet Jose in Mexico
- Meet Esther and Tino in Zimbabwe (video)
- Meet Pedro in Brazil
- Meet Maya, Deepak and Adeline - former SOS children with inspirational stories
When Mouna was 3 years old, she was abandoned by her mother and left on the streets. Discover what happened next by clicking on the play button below (it might take a moment to load). Then click on the right arrow to explore Mouna's journey.
Thanks to child sponsors, Mouna has been given a second chance in life, and is now flourishing in SOS Children's Village Gulu in Uganda. Like every child in our care she is looked after by an SOS mother, belongs to a loving family, and receives the best education and healthcare.
Will you sponsor a child like Mouna?
“My name is Jose, I'm 11 years old and I'm part of a family at SOS Children's Village Morelia. I was born in a town close to Apatzingan, where I was abandoned, together with my sister Martha, when I was 5 and she was only 4 years old. Although I was really young, I can still remember the pain I felt when my mother never returned even though she had promised to do so.
After my mother left us at the main square of the city of Apatzingan, I believed I was never going to have the chance to have a loving family, and I was also afraid of being separated from my younger sister. Just to think about it crushed my heart so many nights.
When the authorities took notice of the situation we lived for a while in different foster homes. Fortunately we were not separated, but something was missing, I felt incomplete all the time.
“I finally had a family”
A long time after that, we arrived at the SOS Children's Village and I thought it was going to be the same as the other places, but I was more than wrong. I could easily see that this ‘Village’ was different from any other places I had been to before. There were so many nice people full of love and always smiling at us.
The biggest difference was that I finally had a family. I had somebody thinking of me and standing by me all the time, supporting me and my new siblings and my sister. That person was my SOS mother. Now I have the family I've always been dreaming of and despite my past I know life has given me a new opportunity by taking me here where I've been growing happier every day.
Now that I live at the SOS Children's Village, I not only have a mother, but also my SOS brothers and sisters, and especially my sister Martha, who is also very happy here. My family makes me stronger each and every day.”
We ensure natural siblings always stay together in the same SOS family home. They grow together with their new SOS brothers and sisters and are cared for by a dedicated SOS mother, developing emotional bonds for life.
Will you sponsor a child like Jose?
Children can be orphaned for many different reasons, including natural disaster, disease, conflict, famine and poverty. HIV/AIDS is the reason why Esther and Tino were orphaned in Zimbabwe. As their mother became weaker due to AIDS, 9-year-old Esther had to look after her, as well as care for Tino, her little sister.
Esther and Tino's story was captured in a BBC2 documentary called ‘Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children’. Below is an extract of the documentary, followed by extra footage that was filmed a year later. See how Esther and Tino have transformed into happy children, thriving in their new home at SOS Children's Village Waterfalls. Click play to watch the short video.
SOS Children's Villages remains in countries even under difficult circumstances, fulfilling our commitment to long-term care. Thanks to child sponsors, vulnerable children in Zimbabwe have not been forgotten, and are growing up with love, security and respect in SOS Children's Villages.
Will you sponsor children like Esther and Tino?
16-year-old Pedro has cerebral palsy, brought on by excessive alcohol consumption by his mother during pregnancy. When he came to SOS Children's Village Poa, São Paulo, ten years ago, his condition had gone untreated. His physical state had become so poor that he was forced to walk on tiptoe.
His new SOS mother, Emilia, convinced the local hospital that Pedro needed surgery straight away. For a month after the operation, Pedro was unable to move and totally reliant on his SOS mother's help. Emilia remembers Pedro's perseverance during a truly difficult time. “Pedro never complained about anything! He is a very brave and persistent young man and had always kept confidence in himself alive.”
For Pedro, it is his SOS mother who is to thank. He says that it is her support and commitment that enabled him to recover and inspired him to try his best in every endeavour: “She looks after me, gives me advice. She was always there for me. What my mother couldn't do for me, Emilia did... I wanted to show her and everyone that I could succeed in life.”
“I want to be a champion in life!”
Like many boys his age, football is Pedro's passion. It is also essential for his improving health. Physiotherapy is key to building Pedro's strength; stimulating muscle growth and helping him stay fit. “Sport makes me feel good. I am less stressed when I go to the gym. I feel free. I do what I can. And I try to do better every day. I want to win – but not the game. I want to be a champion in life!”
SOS Children's Villages are home to children with diverse needs. We know each child personally, and work with them to develop an individual development plan. From special therapy to tailored care, every child gets what they need to enjoy a happy childhood and a bright future.
Will you sponsor a child like Pedro?
When children in SOS Children's Villages reach their teenage years, they often move into an SOS Youth Home. Here, we help them on their journey to independence. They generally leave the home aged between 18 and 21 (or older if necessary), and many youngsters go on to achieve incredible success or work to create a better world for others.
You can create a happy ending
We would like to thank the children who have so kindly shared their stories. If you are an SOS child and would like to send us your own story, please email email@example.com.
* Some children's names have been changed to protect their privacy.