One year ago, SOS mother Nicole welcomed four new children in her family in the SOS Children’s Village in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire: Fiona*, Denis*, Dina* and a three-year-old little boy named Ely*. They are now well integrated, and make other children of the family forget the departure of those they have replaced.
Interview with Mother Nicole
How are your children?
All the children are doing well.
Have there been any family changes since the three girls and the boy were welcomed in your family?
There has not been any change. No other child has come and no child has left the house.
Are Fiona, Denise and Dina now used to their new family and housing? Last time you told us that you sometimes found them sleeping on the floor, as they were not used to a bed.
Just one week after that story, the girls started to sleep in their beds and they are now also able to sleep under a mosquito net.
How is the boy Ely doing?
He is fine and he has just turned four on the 27th of last December (2017).
How is the growth process of the children since coming to SOS Children’s Villages (health, education, personal, mental)?
The children are all growing up well. They are healthy. The girls are attending primary school and their results are good. As for the little boy, he is at kindergarten and he progresses well too. He likes singing and performing poems.
Are there challenges?
Although her school results are good, Dina has some difficulties in mathematics and I work with her after school hours so that she can improve. Denise’s challenge is more prominent, because she is a little bit shy in class, and she hardly keeps in mind what she learns. Our SOS educator and I help her in repeating what she has done in class.
What makes you proud?
I am proud of the children’s school results because when they came to me, the girls could neither write nor read. I am also proud of Fiona who was the best of her classroom last year and who would like to become a doctor.
Can you describe what the children mean to you?
The children are like gold to me; and when they are not around I feel lonely.
What do you love the most as an SOS mother?
The most important thing is the love that the children show me when they are all around me. I really appreciate the fact that the children consider me as their mother.
Interview with Fiona
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Fiona and I am 10 years old
How do you like life in your SOS family?
I love my life here. I play a lot and I have some friends. My best friends are Gertro and Affi.
Can you tell us more about your relationship with your SOS mother, brothers and sisters?
I have a good relationship with my SOS mother, as well as my SOS siblings. We spend a lot of time playing together, or performing ballet.
How important is it that you live together with your two biological sisters? Is your bond stronger now?
I am totally fulfilled because I live with my biological sisters, and it is as if we were in our home village. I am very close to my sisters and we like being together.
How do you like school? Could you go to school before you came to live with Mother Nicole?
Yes, I like going to school. I had never been to school before coming here.
What do you like to do best when not in school?
When I am not at school, I watch cartoons on TV and my favourite one is Lucky Luke. My sisters and I also play with our dolls.
What do you dream of becoming one day?
In the future, I would like to be a doctor or a primary school teacher.
Interview with Gisele (who is not one of the biological siblings)
How long have you been living in your SOS family?
I have been living here for three years (since 2014).
Can you tell us why you came to live with Mother Nicole?
My mother died when I was three years old. My father lost everything he owned after the crisis* in our country and he became depressed. Then I was sent to live with my grandmother who is very old and could not take care of me. *(The 2010 presidential election between incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and opposition member Alassane Ouattara resulted in a violent conflict after Gbagbo refused to honor the results that declared Ouattara the winner. As of April 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported that over 1,000 civilians had died as a result of clashes, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated that more than 500,000 Ivoirians were forcibly displaced, and 94,000 Ivoirians fled to neighbouring Liberia out of fear of violence.)
What do you like best about life in your SOS family? And are there things you find difficult?
I like playing with my siblings and I often take part in the activities organized here, like ballet, drama, and singing. I like wearing beautiful dresses, but I find it difficult to wash them.
How do you like school?
I like school and thanks to my mother’s help, I am a very good student.
What do you like to do best when not in school?
I like dancing and staying in the kitchen with my mother to learn how to cook. I also like reading.
Can you tell me about your future dreams?
In the future, I would like to be a primary school teacher.
Canadians wishing to help are encourage to sponsor a child, sponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will help change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the children.