16 May 2014

The Strength of a Mother

(© Marcel Greco)

(5/16/2014): Josineide's first contact with SOS Children's Villages Brazil in Joao Pessoa/Paraiba was about four years ago, when her sons Jefferson, 9, and Joanderson, 10, started participating in activities at the SOS Social Center.

At that time, Josi, as her friends call her, washed cars in a public market near the social center, and asked for donations from patrons to support her children. Despite her shortage of food, she never resorted to engendering compassion with her children. Jefferson and Joanderson were always clean and busy, involved in children’s activities. And even with all the difficulty, Josi found time to seek out help and find a place where her kids could receive an education.

After a year, Josi enrolled her children in a school near the social center. Until that time, she had been a rather insecure person who didn’t have enough courage to speak about her feelings. She felt ashamed of her situation and would easily come to tears. The meals her children had at the social center were the only food they had during the day because Josi did not have enough money to buy them food.

At the SOS Social Center, Josi was encouraged to get a job rather than rely on begging. She was given the opportunity to work as a volunteer. From that point on, her life began to change significantly. Now, three years later, Josi is an 'SOS community mother' and takes care of five children at her house with the assistance of SOS facilitators. The mothers of these children can go to work without concern or worry about their children’s welfare. The mothers share a similar history, and were desperately looking for support for their families. Josi feels that she is contributing in an important way and receives a salary, which helps her meet family expenses.  

Josi has several other jobs. Twice a week she cleans family houses. She also delivers bread and milk for the federal government. On Saturdays, she helps at the city's public school.

Today, Josi has great plans for the future. She thinks of going back to school. She expects an even better future for herself and her family.

When asked about how important SOS Children's Villages has been in her life, she responds, ‘I have learned to talk to my children. I learned to talk with them and to hug them, frankly speaking; I did not know how much that meant to people. What else can I say? I am grateful to SOS Children's Villages.”

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This story is part of a month-long series telling the stories of women and mothers around the world. The series is part of the SOS Children’s Villages – USA ‘Celebrate Mothers. Empower Women’ campaign. You can find more stories, free eGifts and more at CelebrateMoms.org