These seven women aren't ordinary mothers. They're exceptional individuals who have devoted their lives to caring for children—children not biologically related to them—who have been orphaned and abandoned by their families.
We call them our SOS Mothers—and there about 6,000 of these amazing women around the world raising more than 85,000 children in safe, loving families.
Mother: Mama Fatema
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Damascus, Syria.
Raising a child is no easy task. Add more than five years of violent war to this big responsibility, and Mama Fatema becomes an even bigger hero. As an SOS Mother in Syria for the past 20 years, Mama Fatema has raised 30 children, 17 girls and 13 boys. Today, this brave woman has only one goal: to protect her children from the ongoing conflict.
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Bangpoo, Thailand.
An SOS Mother for 23 years, Krongtip has raised 34 orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Although these are not her biological children, she feels extremely committed to making them successful in life. “No matter what their problems are, I just give them a hug and they become my children,” she says.
Mother: Sindy Hadebe
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
A former nurse, Sindy has helped raise dozens of orphaned and abandoned children at the Pietermaritzburg Village in South Africa during the past 19 years. One of her children is Matthew, pictured next to her. Matthew was abandoned at just 9 months old, but thanks to Sindy, Matthew received the strength and support he needed to overcome his tough beginnings.
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Oruro, Bolivia.
After graduating with a degree in chemistry, Tuca never thought she would become an SOS Mother. But while searching for a job, Tuca responded to a radio ad for an SOS Mother in Bolivia. Since hearing that ad 26 years ago, she has raised 25 children at SOS Oruro. “What keeps me going is the feeling that I am important to someone else and that with my support the children are able to grow in so many different ways,” she says.
Mother: Teresa Tuble
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Davao city, Philippines.
Teresa Tuble was one of the first SOS Mothers hired at SOS Children’s Village Davao in the Philippines when it opened in 1981. Now retired, she has raised 35 orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children over the course of her 34 years as an SOS Mother. “I will always maintain my connection to the children. My children can always visit me in my retirement home at the SOS Village. I am their home,” she says.
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Santo, Haiti.
Justine has been an SOS Mother for the past 24 years at the Santo Village in Haiti. Today, Justine is caring for nine children. One of the children she’s raised is Nathalie, pictured to her right. Thanks to Justine’s support, Nathalie today is a successful family law attorney in Florida. Nathalie has also worked to implement child-protection policies in Haiti as a Jolie Legal Fellow for the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
Mother: Sonia Mayekamasson
Location: SOS Children’s Villages Bangui, Central African Republic.
Sonia is currently a mother to 10 children and has been a mom to about 50 children in total. She is even an SOS Grandmother! It’s a somber occasion each time a child leaves Sonia’s home for adulthood, but Sonia keeps in touch with her children and they visit her on the weekends, sometimes carrying their own babies in their arms.