Twelve months ago an unusual job advert appeared in a local Zambian newspaper. The advert read, ‘Wanted: Full Time SOS Mothers! Must have necessary qualifications, be mature; strong and stable; self-confident, humorous and have a positive and cheerful attitude towards life’.
A few weeks later, the SOS Children’s Zambian National Director had received hundreds of applications enquiring about the job advert.
It is not a ‘job’ but rather a life commitment to the most vulnerable of children. An SOS mother must be prepared to dedicate her life to raise a generation of children who, because they have been orphaned or abandoned, are completely alone.
The children’s charity, SOS Children is opening a brand new Village in Chipata, Zambia in October. The site consists of 13 homes, where SOS mothers, heading families, will raise 150 children with no one to care for them. The Village also includes a Nursery and a Medical Centre, which are both open to the local community.
It was when Cecilia Crossley had her son, now nearly 2-year-old Isaac, that she first came across the charity SOS Children and the concept of SOS mothers. Watching adverts and TV programmes about the hardship children face all around the world took on new depth of meaning for Cecilia.
Sitting back no longer became an option. Cecilia is now Chief Executive of the social enterprise www.frombabieswithlove.org, the first baby clothes retailer donating 100% profits to orphaned and abandoned children.
Cecilia says: “Becoming a Parent drove me to do more than feel sorry for the children. I have always been interested in the role of social enterprise and corporate social responsibility.
“I thought to myself, if I can buy a beautiful baby product, for great value, with great customer service, and know the profit goes to vulnerable children (rather than a private owner), why would I buy it anywhere else? The answer is I wouldn’t!
“The SOS mothers embarking on this journey are truly inspirational and from one mother to another I want to help them give these children the best start in life, the start every child deserves,” she says.
The Village will open in a month’s time; all the mothers have been recruited and are waiting the arrival of their children.
Anne Kachindi, 40, from the Kitwe District of Zambia has no biological children of her own. Her caring nature and love for children are ideal character traits in SOS mothers.
She says: “I am extremely excited about meeting the children for the first time. I want to be a loving and understanding mother. I am ready for ‘ups and downs’ in my new role as an SOS mother; I know there will be many hard and testing times.
“But, the thought of being their support foundation, their confidant, their mother and friend is overwhelming. I am confident in the training I have been given from SOS Children and I am ready to meet the children’s physical and emotional needs from infancy right up until adulthood and carry them through every adversity, helping them to become independent well-rounded young adults,” she adds.
For more information on SOS Children or to sponsor an SOS child, visit www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/