A mother and son’s bond

Fred* was just three years old when he and his sister came to live with Mama Harriet, their SOS Children’s Villages caregiver. Their parents both died after long illnesses, which also meant that for some time the basic needs of the children simply could not be met.

Today, a now 17-year-old Fred lives in a youth house in SOS Children’s Village Gulu in Uganda. But his bond with Mama Harriet remains strong.

“My goal in life is to become a pharmacist. I’ve always wanted to make people feel better when they’re sick.” says Fred.

Nothing seems to challenge his motivation. Even when he’s sometimes discouraged, Fred knows he’ll make it. After all his SOS Children’s Villages caregiver, Mama Harriet, believes in him.

“If others have done it, then why wouldn’t I?” says Fred.

Since 2003, when he joined her family as just a little boy, Mama Harriet called Fred one of her beloved children. She admires his character and strong belief in himself.

However, the thing that really connected the two so quickly was their love of laughter and jokes.

“The two are always seen laughing together.” shares Amina*, Fred’s sister.

“Mum loves me so much and I know it.” says Fred, reminiscing about the birthday gifts Harriet used to hide under their pillows. He also attributes his hard work and success in education to Mama Harriet. Her kind words of encouragement pushing him to succeed in his studies.

Three years ago, Fred moved into the youth house**, but this hasn’t stopped him from being close to Mama Harriet.

Fred visits his family house every day to spend time with Mama Harriet. When he’s home during school breaks, she always budgets for his meals in her house. She cautions his SOS Children’s Villages siblings not to finish all the food because she’s sure he’ll visit.

He finds being home is better for his schoolwork. “It’s quieter and mum makes sure no one interrupts me while I study.” says Fred.

Fred is currently in senior high school studying a Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics (BCM) combination, ideal for medical studies.

This subject combination is essential for him to achieve his dream job.

*Names changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

**A youth house is where older children and youths are given an opportunity to grow into responsible, self-reliant young adults. They’re allowed to make decisions under the guidance of a youth leader, unlike in SOS Children’s Villages families where they are guided by their caregiver.

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