A place to call home

Like many of the children who end up in SOS care, Nobuhle Mahlala and her siblings did not have an easy start to life. They had a terminally ill mother, who eventually died, and a father who was never involved in their upbringing.

In 2005 Nobuhle, who was nine years old at the time, and her elder sister found themselves at an SOS Children’s Village in Nelspruit. They had been referred by a teacher whose name was not given to Khanyisa, from their local school. The teacher had always known the family and was aware of their situation especially after the passing of their mother. She helped them with food and some essentials whenever she could, but since she also had a family of her own, she knew it would not be sustainable. That’s when she approached the social worker at the local SOS programme to intervene.

Nobuhle Mohlala wrote an inspiring letter thanking SOS Children’s Villages SA for the loving home provided to her for more than 10 years. “When I first walked into the villageI felt a bit strange…in a good way. I was also so scared, I remember saying to myself: I must behave so that they don’t chase me away. I now realise that it was rooted from my early experiences of abandonment,” Says Nobuhle.

 The Nelspruit SOS Children’s Village provided Nobuhle with a mother, siblings, and a home. “I found love and warmth, not once did I go to bed on an empty stomach or worry about where my next meal would come from,” she says.Her fondest memories in the village include the Christmas parties, which for her was a first experience. She remembers the days when she would walk into the village from school and it would feel like home.

After matric, Nobuhle enrolled at the University of Cape Town, studying for a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in International Relations and Psychology. She studied further towards her BA Honours in International Relations at the University of Pretoria. Next year (2020), she plans to do her Masters in International Relations. Nobuhle concludes, “I am most grateful to SOS. I know what family is and I know what love is. I am thankful because today I pride myself of belonging to a loving family.” She concludes

 SOS Children’s Villages South Africa is all about seeing children develop to their full potential, within loving families. When children can no longer live with their own families, SOS provide quality alternative care, within a Family, within a Home, within a Village.

The organisation builds new families for children who have lost the permanent care of their parents, to help them shape their own futures. SOS Children’s Villages has been operating in South Africa for more than 35 years, with eight Villages and three Social Centres across the country. SOS in the Family Based Programme supports more than 700 children and youth, with more than 4 000 children and youth supported by the Family Strengthening Programme.

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