A view of the SOS Children's Village in Antsirabe, Madagascar…
In 1986, the Malagasy SOS Children's Village Association was founded with the aim to build an SOS Children's Village. The reason for this was that living conditions in Madagascar were very difficult, and children in particular were suffering. The association managed to obtain a plot of land in Vontovorona, about 21 km southwest of Antananarivo from the authorities. Construction of the country's first SOS Children's Village started in 1988. Over the years, a kindergarten, youth houses, a medical centre and a secondary school have been added to the SOS Children's Village.
A view of the SOS Children's Village Antsirabe, Madagascar
I've been reading a report from March 2009, about the violent outbreaks in the capital Antananarivo. SOS Children's Villages in Madagascar launched an emergency relief program to the victims of the violence.
This report was published on the 7th March 2009, it gives the timeline of events which started back on the 7th of February:
After the political turmoil in the capital Antananarivo, which had led to violent outbreaks, SOS Children's Villages has ensured medical supplies for the victims.
After the the dramatic events of 7 February, that led to the deaths of around fifty people and left a hundred more severely wounded, SOS Children's Villages Madagascar had met with the directors of the two hospitals the victims were being treated at to determine the most urgent needs, as SOS Children's Villages France had agreed to cover the cost of medical supplies.
On 20 February, these were delivered to the hospitals to be administered freely to the victims of the turmoils, especially to the most vulnerable children and families.
In addition, SOS Children's Villages France has acquired 50 nasogastric feeding tubes for the children. Sending these medical supplies was rendered possible by the effort and dedication of several individuals and organisations who formed a virtual "chain of solidarity".
Conflicts between the government and the opposition had led to violent outbreaks in the capital of the island state situated off the coast of Mozambique.
A portrait of girl in sports field at the SOS Children's Village Huehuetoca, Mexico.
The importance of being an SOS Mother Two years are a short time in order to have a clear and accurate idea of what it actually means to be an SOS Children's Village Mother. However, this is enough time to be able to put into words the deep feeling of motherhood that takes root in us SOS Aunts in this work. For all those who have already been a mother, what I have to say here is probably nothing new. For me, however, this was a new and satisfying experience, even if it has been difficult. As an SOS Aunt, I have experienced strong and conflicting feelings very intensely: sometimes tenderness and love, other times doubt and fear, at times pride and satisfaction and then annoyance and tears again; but also - and why should I not admit this - feelings of guilt and twinges of conscience in the light of the certainty that I have made mistakes in my activity.
Knowing how to help other people and how to enfold them in love and determinacy, and how to give them a sense of orientation, these are characteristics that mark every good SOS Mother and every SOS Aunt. Every SOS Aunt should take this into account and regard it as a challenge to be taken up. In addition, she should be capable of remaining persistently loyal to a vocation that demands strength of will and strength of character, and set herself the aim of educating every child according to their own special characteristics. Every child needs a mother to stand by them, to be willing to get to know their innermost feelings, and not simply to tell them what to do, but rather to love them as they are. Otherwise, these children will never accept a word of orientation or correction from her.
I would like to come back to what I said above about intensive feelings. Why did I experience them in this way? Perhaps because I preferred "to be with the child" in the process of development and growing up - a child that never experienced love in the very first years of its life, a child that does not want to stop being a child, a child that is afraid of not being able to handle its liberty properly, that is undergoing a revolution deep inside and expresses this through violence. I have decided to live together with adolescents. And sometimes I feel I am a mother, sometimes an aunt, a big sister or simply a friend.
How interesting it has been for me to get to know them gradually and to have won their love. How motivating to experience their genuine feelings of attachment! And what a serious obligation this challenge is - to help them so that they will become boys and girls who are a benefit both to themselves and to society! Every single one of my children is for me like a small piece of valuable gold that will become even more valuable. These little nuggets of gold are their hearts, filled with magnanimity and love, but also with resentment. I am aware that their golden heart, if it is to gain in value, must be filled with positive feelings so that everything negative that they have experienced since their childhood can be repressed.
I would be delighted to be able to write about everything that I have experienced with all my children so all my readers can understand what it means to have the opportunity to live together with them and take on the role of mother, to have the good fortune of seeing them grow, of seeing their successes, suffering with them when they undergo defeats and helping them to overcome them.
I write their names as testimony to the love that I feel for them: Isaías, Adriana, Rosi and Gabino. They conquered my heart and I am convinced that my decision to remain with SOS Children's Villages is rooted in them. Later came Gilberto, who I took into my heart just like the others. And shortly afterwards came Magdalena, Carlos, Rogelio and José Luis - I love them all and it is my desire to help them to come to terms with life. I shall now end this short report on my experiences with a word of thanks to God for showing me this path to self-discovery as an SOS Mother. I would also like to thank the SOS Children's Villages Association for giving me the opportunity to take part in this noble task and for the help that has always been given me by the advisory team in difficult situations. (Written by María Celia Razo Flores, SOS Childrens Village Mother in Huehuetoca