“We do not intend to take the place of their mothers, but we give them all our love”
Lourdes, you came by chance.
Yes, a priest brought me to visit the Village... I have always been involved in social work.
You were in your second year of college. If you truly wanted to be a teacher, why did you drop out?
Because here I felt useful. A mom is a teacher, a psychologist, a little bit of everything! I felt really good, and they gave me a four-month-old baby. It was he who made me stay.
How long ago was that?
About 15 years ago.
And what happened to him?
He is with his biological family. He is studying at some state school and he is doing very well. What SOS Children’s Villages wants is for children to have a good education.
This is not an easy job.
No, but nor is it difficult.
Have you ever wanted to give up?
Mmm… yes. Some children have a strong character, no matter how much you try to explain things to them... but they all have a loving side and that makes up for it. Besides, this is my mission and God has put these children in my way for a reason. I have to be patient and be with them, teach them, make them good men and women.
After 17 years doing this, now in charge of your second group of kids, what is the greatest satisfaction of this job?
The greatest satisfaction is to realise that they are good people, even after they leave. Two of my “children”, that are married now, have chosen good partners and have listened to the advice that we gave them. I see their children, and they are very well cared for...
The term “substitute mother” is not pretty, is it?
The name is not important, but what we experience day by day here with them. Although they eventually leave, they thank you: “You corrected me and you raised your voice, it was right and it was worth it, because otherwise I would not be who I am now”.
I go back to my first question: What would happen to them if there were no spaces like this and people like you?
The founder of this organisation was an orphan, so he knew what the kids needed. We do not intend to take the place of their mothers ⸺they know it because we tell them! but we give them all our love. He knew that in the world there would be women willing to give up their lives to the welfare of children.
Some teenager must have told you something like, “Don’t correct me, you’re not my mother!”
Sure. That is when you remind them that you will never be, but you are the person in charge, and so you will continue to guide them until they withdraw from the organisation. Once I made some boy see that sometimes I spend the salary I earn for doing things for him...
What happened? What was his answer?
“Sorry, mom. I was mad... it won’t happen again“. And it did not. In situations like that, I realise that the values we teach them, they flow. If they make a mistake, then they think about it.
SOS Children's Villages Peru lives on donations.
Yes, that is why we invite companies to become SOS Friends.
It is worth it.
It is! Most of the kids who have been here are professionals now and are at the service of the community.