SOS-mother in front of her house - CV Assomada, Cape…
Diana or the hope of a family
SOS-mother in front of her house - CV Assomada, Cape Verde
Diana or the hope of a family
Diana is 22 years old. She lives in the neighbourhood of SOS Children's Village Kara. She is the head of a family of three people i.e. two small sisters and a small brother. She knows that her brother and sisters rely on her; this is why she fights everyday to offer them the minimum which will allow them to succeed in their life. A good example of courage and perseverance.
"I am not afraid of the future. Every day that passes, I find the necessary force allowing me to keep hope. I am sure that one day everything will go better and we will be able to live happily. The only thing which could hurt me would be to find myself alone without my brother and sisters. My wish is that we stay together and live together in spite of all the difficulties that we have", Diana said, while washing the clothes of her small sister who has just left for school.
The situation of the family
Diana did not wish to have such responsibilities at only 22. In 2000, she was still going to secondary school when her mother died, following a long illness. Her dad was accused of witchcraft and chased away of the village. He was able to find refuge in a nearby country. Since that time, Diana has been the head of a family whose children still need parental love and warmth. "Our condition was very difficult during the first days, because the situation really surprised us. We were living happily together with our dad and mom, and both disappeared at the same moment. We were still mourning our mother when our dad had to hide abroad as he was chased away of the village for reasons that we do not believe until today. It was really very complicated for us. I was not prepared to play the parents' role. I was crying every day because I wondered ceaselessly how we will do to cope with the situation", she said. "The first measure to take was that I stopped going to school, so that I could better take care of my brother and my two sisters. It was also necessary that I found a generative income activity allowing me to earn money because I had to feed them every day, buy their medicines when they are ill, buy their school stationeries and pay for their school fees. All this frightened me, because I knew that even if I found a job, I would not gain enough money to overcome all these needs. I was really afraid of the future", she added.
The help of SOS Children's Villages
SOS Children's Villages assists Diana's family through the family strengthening programme. The family which was among the first to be identified became part of the programme in 2004, when the programme's activities started in Togo. The family regularly receives a monthly package of foodstuff comprising rice, beans, maize, oil, salt, sugar, fish, and even soap. The children receive all the stationeries they need for their studies, and their schooling is completely paid by the programme. When they are ill, they are treated free of charge. From time to time, Diana is assisted by a psychologist, who gives her useful advices on how to cope with her responsibility. "The first day I got in contact with SOS Children's Villages, I hardly believed that I would be given everything that I was promised. I thought that it was only words, because several people often came here to see us and made us more or less the same promises, but nobody had kept word. I am very happy for the help that is given to me till today. This help is simply invaluable. Thanks to the family strengthening programme, I will be able to register in a training centre and learn data processing", she said.
Time passed, Diana became more mature and her family life improved. Her younger small sister, Anne, frequents a secondary school not far from SOS Children's Village Kara. Anne loves French, English and mathematics. After her studies, she would like to become a lawyer. The two others are not going to school anymore. The boy makes petty trading and the girl learns sewing in a training centre not far from their house. All four live in the house left by their parents which is often repaired with the support of the programme. "I have always thought that the success of a family lies first in its unity. A close family succeeds easily, no matter what happens. When a family is scattered, everything becomes difficult and the future of everyone is also in danger", Diana said.
For privacy reasons, we have changed the names of the persons involved in the text.