From homeless to hopeful
– December 13 2018
From homeless to hopeful
Aisha and Wazo found themselves alone on the street one day. Being only five and four years old, the sisters did not know their way home. They cried out for their mother—but she was gone. They had been abandoned.
The Journey from Trauma to Healing
So many children come to us through tragic circumstances: poverty, war, abandonment and natural disasters. Youth homelessness is a massive global problem; more than 10 million children around the world have been displaced and separated from loved ones. One survey found that three quarters of refugee and migrant children interviewed said they had experienced violence, harassment or aggression during their journey. Nearly half reported also experiencing sexual abuse.
But together, we can work to end youth homelessness. The lucky ones find support from SOS Children’s Villages. Meet two of the children whose lives have been forever changed.
Aisha* and Wazo*
Before sisters Aisha (five years old) and Wazo (four years old) came to the SOS Children’s Village of Mwanza in Tanzania, “no one knows how long the children had been on the street,” says their SOS mother, Roselyn. While they knew their first names, they couldn’t remember their last. And their mother’s name had already been lost to them.
“A good Samaritan found the girls and alerted the social welfare office. They were placed in a local orphanage, but they were not well cared for. They were brought to me sickly, malnourished and unhappy,” Roselyn recalls. “They found this place strange. I stretched my hand to say hello. They did not respond, they just stared at me wondering who I was, if I was going to be their new mother, and if this was going to be their new home,” says Roselyn.
The sisters remained withdrawn from other children for the first few weeks. Because they didn’t speak much Swahili, Aisha and Wazo kept to themselves. “But I showered them with affection anyway,” Roselyn explains. “Love is a universal language even when the spoken word is not.”
Within a month, Aisha and Wazo became two of the happiest children in the village. They even asked to start going to school. “When asked what they want to be when they grow up,” Roselyn remembers, “Aisha says she wants to be a teacher. Wazo wants to be a good mother.”
Providing safety, love and hope for more children
While Aisha and Wazo have found support, there are still abandoned children living on the streets and others who have been forced to flee their homes. The physical, psychological and emotional toll on these children can be severe and debilitating.
But you can help bring these children off the streets and into a loving home. We provide resources for homeless youth to help them thrive. Through the generosity of our supporters, SOS Children’s Villages offers mental health programs and services to children, families and communities and trains SOS mothers and caregivers to provide critical help to children who have experienced trauma. Most importantly, your contribution will bring something these orphaned, vulnerable and forgotten children desperately need—hope.
*Names changed to protect the children's privacy.