Settling in to a new life in Chipata, Zambia

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Following the death of both of their parents, five-year-old twins Thomas and Jacob were growing up with their elderly grandmother, who struggled to provide for them. Now, SOS mother Mwandia has welcomed them into their new home at the recently opened SOS Children’s Village Chipata in Zambia.

Chipata, in Zambia’s Eastern Province, is a deprived area where HIV/AIDS, disease and poverty have left many children alone. One in every six children in Chipata is an orphan. Thomas and Jacob are two such children. After losing both their parents to illnesses at such a young age, they lived with their grandmother, but she was not in a position to care and provide for them, and the boys' health was suffering.

The new village in Chipata, the fourth SOS Children's Village in Zambia, has 13 homes where children from the community with no one to care for them will be raised in families headed by SOS mothers. Thomas and Jacob are amongst the first group of children who have now moved into the village and are settling into family life.

When they first arrived at the children's village, Jacob was very unwell with clear signs of malnutrition. The boy's SOS mother is Mwandia, 52, a local woman who grew up on a farm in Chipata. With three biological children of her own, Mwandia is an experienced mother with a passion for childcare. With the support of the new SOS Medical Centre located on the village site, Mwandia has been able to gradually nurse Jacob back to health. By providing a good home-cooked diet, he is fast becoming a lively young boy. He still refuses to eat the carrots his SOS mother cooks for him though, despite her best efforts!

The twins are gradually being introduced to their new surroundings, having never experienced flushing toilets or a television before. They both enjoyed the village opening ceremony which took place on October 10 2012, joining in with the singing and watching the majorettes and brass band perform. They are looking forward to having even more friends to play with in the coming weeks, as their SOS brothers and sisters gradually arrive. Soon, they will attend Damview Primary, a community school recently extended and refurbished by SOS Children's Villages Zambia.

Mwandia has high aspirations for the boys, and will support them to realise their own ambitions as they grow up. With her support, and the opportunities now available for them, the boys are able to grow up safe, well and with hope for the future.

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.