Neil's News – May 7 2020 Two young women keep hope alive in Morocco Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Neil Ghosh, CEO of SOS USA, had a conversation with two women who grew up at SOS Morocco to learn the impact of the pandemic on their lives. Here, he shares their inspirational stories—which are possible because of the love of their SOS mothers. To hear firsthand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the lives of young people, and to add their voices to the global conversation, I have been speaking with children, youth, SOS mothers and frontline service providers served by SOS Children’s Villages programs in several countries around the world. In case you missed it, I recently spoke with children from SOS Florida and SOS Ethiopia. Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with Amel and Hiba from Morocco, where SOS has five villages. I traveled to three of these villages last year: Imzoren, Dar Bouazza (Casablanca) and Ait Qurir (Marrakash). Amel has grown up in SOS El Jadida since she was only one month old. Today, she’s a strong 20-year-old college accounting student who has her sights set on becoming a successful manager one day. Amel’s name means hope: especially meaningful during this trying time. I spoke to Amel about the effect COVID-19 has on her life and her education. She lives with one sister and one brother, and only leaves her house to get vegetables. She shared that she has Zoom video calls for school all day long and is constantly studying. She doesn’t feel like there will be much academic catching up to do after the pandemic, but she does miss fun activities that offer a break from her studies—like just being with friends. Her big fear is finding a job when she finishes college, and finding peace. Hiba came to SOS Imzouren when she was just 15 days old. Now, she’s a happy 18-year-old in her first year of college, also working toward an accounting degree. Hiba is a shy but happy young woman who lives with her five SOS sisters. When I asked what worries her, she answered “nothing!” Both Hiba and Amel aspire to be free and independent women. They want to prove that, with the support of SOS, they can—and will—break the cycle of poverty. Their success stories emphasize the power of our village structure and the empathy of our “mothers” to guide children to thrive. And by mothers, of I course I mean those blessed with their own children—but also those who take on the role of mother, offering a kind word or a tender smile when needed most, proving their compassion runs deep and is freely given to those who need it most. SOS mothers change children's lives and shape their entire futures. I offer my praise to all women who embody the love our children need. Without the power of a mother’s love, where would we be? From the desk of Neil Ghosh, CEO of SOS USA If you want to continue this conversation with Neil to hear more of his insight, or to share what your organization is experiencing at this uncertain time, please reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want you to get to know SOS USA and our leadership. Please note that the views expressed in Neil’s News solely reflect those of Neil Ghosh, CEO of SOS USA. Although these perspectives often align with SOS USA as an organization, they may deviate at times. Thank you for your interest in reading Neil’s News!