At the age of 5, Magaly, now 22 years old, arrived at the SOS Children's Village Arequipa in southern Peru. She grew up with 24 siblings and describes her SOS Family as one "centered on trust, understanding, and mutual encouragement." Today, she credits SOS Children's Villages with giving her the stability and courage to pursue her life and career goals as an educator.
"Communication with my SOS Mother has always been really good. She is a friend to me because she has looked after me since I was really young. She has always been there for me every step of the way. There is a lost of trust between us. She always knows how I'm doing, and even now that I live alone she always checks on me," said Magaly.
"Communication with my brothers and sisters have also always been very good. I still visit them on their birthdays to eat cake and cook dinner. Lots of my older siblings live elsewhere now, but I do have one sister who also lives independently and is a teacher, like me," she added.
Magaly is on course to complete her studies and to qualify as a primary school teacher. Fresia Pantigoso García, Youth Advisor at SOS Children's Villages, has been monitoring Magaly's development since she was a teenager. Pantigoso García is her supervisor and mentor, helping her build skills and confidence for her future.
"Here in the SOS Village, we work to develop young people's abilities and life skills so they can reach their full potential," said Pantigoso García, who helps to design and conduct a series of workshops to help young people like Magaly transition to adulthood.
Children at SOS Children's Villages in Peru are taught to manage a diverse range of topics from sexual health to vocational interests to youth empowerment. Such workshops also feature games and sporting activities aimed at teaching young people to manage stress, clear their minds, open up and discover what makes them special beyond their everyday studies.
As part of her teacher training, Magaly is now student-teaching at a school in Miraflores, a district in the city of Arequipa. "Magaly is a really devoted student and teacher. She loves working with children. I think that is her vocation. She is very happy," said Miguel Rodriguez, Magaly's teaching advisor.
Once she finishes her studies, Magaly also plans to complete a psychology course to assist children with troubled backgrounds.