October 4 2018

The Gift of Childhood: You Rescued Iyana

When Iyana first came to the SOS Village, she cried herself to sleep most nights. With lots of love and patience, Iyana now calls her SOS Mother one of her best friends.

Iyana was so hungry, all she could do was cry from the pain in her stomach. She would sometimes beg for food from neighbors or people on the streets of Chimoio in Mozambique. At just 5 years old, she had to stay strong so she could help her ailing mother. 

For as long as she could remember, it had been just the two of them. When her mother first go sick, Iyana remembers walking her to the clinic. They’d wait for the doctor, sitting on a hard wooden bench. Iyana didn’t know what the doctor did, but the walks home took longer…her mom moved slower.  

Iyana will always remember that awful bench, particularly because of her last visit to the clinic. While they were waiting for the doctor, two nurses came with a wheelchair to take her mother away. Iyana didn’t understand why they needed a wheelchair this time. 

Left sitting alone, she had no idea that her mother would never return. A nurse eventually came out to tell her that her mother had died. She had passed away sitting right next to Iyana, but Iyana didn’t know or even have a chance to say goodbye. 

With no other relatives to care for her, Iyana came to the SOS Children’s Village in Chimoio. Joining her new SOS Family, Iyana found the transition from being a caretaker to being a child again very difficult. Receiving love and affection from her SOS Mother was strange to her. 

“I noticed that she missed her biological mother terribly,” Iyana’s SOS social worker, Claudia, recalls. “Iyana did not know what death was, so I explained to her the different stages of life. It took months of counseling and encouragement for Iyana to come out of her shell and to start socializing.” 

In her new family, Iyana experienced a childhood she had never known before. For the first time in her life, she attended school. Now in fifth grade, she has transformed into a courageous young girl. It took some extra time and attention, but Iyana is now thriving and is among the top performers in her class. 

“I want to be a nurse when I grow up,” Iyana tells us. “I want to save lives and comfort those who are sick and in pain.” Her dreams echo a desire to help those dealing with trauma she suffered at an early age.  

Thanks to your support, Iyana has much to look forward to. While she cannot recover the lost years of her childhood, you have given Iyana hope and the chance to succeed in life.

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