How your support is transforming young lives.
SOS Children’s Villages believes that no child should grow up alone. Our first priority is to support families at risk to prevent family breakdown, so that children do not need alternative care. This is carried out through our Family Strengthening Program. In cases where a child cannot be cared for by their family of origin, we provide quality alternative family-based care in the form of Children’s Villages, where children grow up as part of an SOS family.
Ruth* is one of the children that lives in the SOS Children’s Village in Livingstone.
Through the Darkness Comes Light
For baby Ruth,* one can hardly imagine a more difficult start in life. Ruth was born to a girl who was only a child herself. The pregnancy came about after the young girl, who battled with mental health problems, was sexually violated. Unable to comprehend what had happened to her and the possible consequences, the pregnancy went on unnoticed for many months.
Ruth’s grandmother continued to care for her daughter, who struggled to understand the changes that were happening to her body. Confused, angry and in pain, she eventually gave birth to baby Ruth on the dirt floor of a hut made from mud and reeds, with the grandmother there as the only witness and source of comfort.
The grandmother tried to raise the baby herself, but with limited resources, the burden of the additional responsibility proved to be impossible to manage alone. Eventually, the grandmother approached the social welfare office who liaised with SOS Children’s Villages in Livingstone to take the baby into their care.
When baby Ruth arrived at the Village, she was shockingly thin, malnourished and listless. Her hair was sparse and had the reddish tinge associated with kwashikore, a disease prompted by a lack of protein in the diet. Ruth was put on a special milk formula and moved in with SOS mother Dorothy. Gradually, Ruth’s health improved.
Six years on, Ruth is a lovely girl who adores when her mother puts her hair into ‘bobbles’. She is proud of her dark, shiny hair which is just long enough for such fancy hair-dos. She enjoys classes in the SOS School which is close to the house that she shares with her SOS mother and her other SOS brothers and sisters. In the afternoon, after a nap, she likes nothing more than to follow the rest of the family around, helping with chores or playing games.
Her favourite colour is pink and one of the things she likes to do best at school is to draw shapes and colour them in. She’s happy, well-adjusted and reaching her milestones on time. The only reminder of her unfortunate start in life
is that she is still rather small for her age.
For now, the future looks bright for this petite little girl. She’s inquisitive and loving and now has the care and support to enable her to reach her full potential.
*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the child.