Peru – 18 December 2017 Magaly’s story: How one young woman wants to inspire children Magaly is a 22-year-old woman from the city of Arequipa in southern Peru. She first arrived at the SOS Children’s Village Arequipa at the age of five and a half. She credits SOS Children’s Villages with giving her the stability and courage to pursue her life and career goals as an educator. “Communications with my SOS mother have always been really good. She is a friend because she has looked after me since I was really young. There is a lot of trust between us. She always knows how I’m doing, and now that I live alone she always checks on me,” said Magaly. Magaly grew up with 24 siblings and describes her SOS family as one “centered on trust, understanding, and mutual encouragement.” “Communication with my brothers and sisters has always been very good. We now visit them on their birthdays, we eat cake and they cook. Lots of my older brothers live elsewhere now but some still live here. I have one sister who moved out to live independently, and she is a teacher like me,” she added. Fresia Pantigoso García works as a youth advisor at SOS Children’s Villages and has been monitoring Magaly’s development since she was a teenager. She acts as her supervisor, helping her to build her skills and confidence for the future. “Magaly got here when she was a very little girl. As they days went by, she worked on building good relationships with other children in the village, with her SOS mother, with her brothers and sisters,” she said. Career as a teacher Magaly is on course to complete her studies and to qualify as a primary school teacher later this year. She has learnt to live alone and to manage her own finances. “Here in the Village, we work to develop young people’s abilities and life skills so that they can reach their full potential,” said Pantigoso García, who helps to design and conduct a series of workshops to help young people like Magaly to transition to adulthood. Children at SOS Children’s Villages in Peru are taught to manage a diverse range of topics from sexual health to vocational interests to youth empowerment. Such workshops also feature games and sporting activities aimed at teaching young people to manage stress, clear their minds, open up and discover what makes them special beyond their everyday studies. As part of her teacher training course, Magaly is now carrying out work experience at a small nursery in Miraflores, a district of the city of Arequipa. “Magaly is a really devoted student, she’s very focused. She’s in her final year and is about to submit her thesis. She loves working with children. I think that is her vocation. She is very happy,” said Miguel Rodriguez, Magaly’s advisor. Once she has finished her studies, Magaly plans to complete a psychology course to assist children from troubled backgrounds. “I received so much support at SOS Children’s Villages. I think I needed them the most when I was a little girl. When I first arrived at the Village, I met my mum. She is a friend to me. She brought me up from a very young age and has been there for me every step of the way. Sometimes I was quite mischievous, but she always fought for me. Thanks to SOS Children’s Villages, I am the person I am now,” said Magaly.