SOS SC Engenho do Meio in Recife
The story of Sergio:
All the children cared for by SOS Children are different. Different circumstances and different locations mean that each child has to be cared for in a unique way. Whilst all children have their own story, I was particularly taken by this one, about a young boy from Brazil.
Although he is only eight years old, Sergio has been expelled from school six times. He was an abandoned and neglected child, but today he is making good progress and is living a much happier childhood thanks to the support offered at SOS Social Centre Engenho do Meio in Brazil.
Sergio was born to an unfortunate mother who became a drug user and developed serious psychological problems as a result. His father, an alcoholic, was very violent with his family.
Sergio and his three brothers were eventually rescued from abandonment and violence by the country's youth authorities. That was several years ago, but Sergio never saw his brothers again. He now lives with his grandmother, and started participating in one of the family strengthening programmes offered by the SOS Social Centre Engenho do Meio in the region of Recife, located in the northeast of the country.
Sergio's grandmother told us about the first years she cared for him: "When the boy arrived at my house, he had cigarette burns all over his body, and until he was three years old, he would get up in the middle of the night afraid and crying. He has been expelled from school six times because of his aggressive behaviour and his hyperactivity. I'm so glad we finally found professional help."
In the social centre, the team of educators see in him much more than his aggressive behaviour, which is now being treated by professionals there; they see his natural potential, which - according to the educators - has yet to be realised. Sergio's grandmother comments: "Sergio feels safe and welcome at the social centre and their activities for families and children have been fundamental in helping him start to overcome his difficulties."
"Very little time has passed, but Sergio has already started bonding with the educators. He is now learning to listen and accept affectionate treatment, but we understand that we will need to work with him for quite a long time," says one of the co-workers of the centre. "It is very easy for us to give him the support he needs. Sergio's parents surely did not receive much affection when they were small, and therefore did not know how to love their own children. In the family and community strengthening programme of SOS Children's Villages Brazil, we do exactly that: we support and give a friendly hand to de-structured families like Sergio's."