February 15, 2011: By the end of 2011, some 8,500 children will be orphaned in Mexico’s violence-wracked city of Juarez, along the Texas border.
There are eight SOS Children's Villages in Mexico.
This alarming figure, according to UPI.com, is an estimate made by researchers at the Autonomous University of Juarez. The same computer model the analysts used to predict the number of orphans produced by drug-related violence estimates that 5,000 people will be killed in Juarez this year. That number is much higher than the roughly 3,300 homicides recorded in 2010.
The rise in orphaned children could have disastrous effects, in the words of researcher Alberto Ochoa. He urged the Mexican government to facilitate the adoption process.
For four decades, SOS Children’s Villages has been providing vulnerable Mexican children with an on-site alternative to adoption. At eight SOS Children’s Villages across the country, orphaned and needy children find long-term family-based care, loving homes, and hope for a brighter future.
Caring for Mexico’s Young, Hapless Victims of Violence for Forty Years
Alma and her brother Adrian were four and two years old, respectively, when they were brought to an SOS Children’s Village in Mexico. Separated from their relatives, who were no longer able to care for them, the siblings had already lived in three different temporary government-run shelters when they arrived at SOS.
The children were from a municipality near Mexico City called Tlalnepantla. Once in the SOS Children’s Village, not only were they given a home and an SOS mother, sent to school, and provided with medical care, but most importantly, they were allowed to remain together. Most of the 30,000 children and youth living in care institutions throughout Mexico find themselves separated from brothers and sisters.
SOS keeps siblings together within SOS homes, knowing how important it is that already traumatized children have the emotional security of a beloved sibling.
Comparing her life at SOS with her previous situations, Alma says, "Here I have a bigger home and nobody disrespects me. It’s actually the opposite,” she laughs softly, “I think I'm the darling of my aunt." Aunties is the term SOS uses for mothers’ helpers.
Keeping Children Safe
Girl painting. Photo by Miguel Rivera
Several years have passed since Alma and her brother came to SOS. Alma is especially happy to be raised side by side with Adrian. At swimming lessons recently, she noticed several kids from an institution that cares for children without families. “Two of them told me they had younger siblings and that they are missing them so much, but that they don’t know where they are because they have been separated.” Alma is sad that other parentless children don’t have the good fortune she does of living with her brother.
To ensure that more children like Alma are able to grow up with their biological siblings in a warm, supportive SOS Children’s Village, please make a donation to support SOS Children's Villages in Mexico and around the world.
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