– 10 April 2018
Rodrigo’s difficult road to adulthood
As a child as young as seven, Rodrigo worked to earn pocket change to help support his two younger brothers and infant sister. But while working in a marketplace doing odd jobs to earn money for food, Rodrigo missed out on his schooling.
Social workers would later place the four children in alternative care because their parents were no longer able to care for them. Rodrigo, Luis, Manuel and Guadalupe were all separated by age. In 2011 they moved to the SOS Children's Village Tehuacán, where they all lived together in one SOS family.
Rodrigo recalls that it was the first time he felt safe. "When I lived with my parents, I was worried all the time about my siblings, because even though I was young, I had to take care of them. I remember that when we came to our SOS family, I felt calm because my brothers were happy and Guadalupe would not have to live the same life as me,” he says.
Rodrigo and his SOS mother
Rodrigo found school a constant challenge and struggled to catch up on his studies. His frustrations with learning changed when he discovered folk dancing. At the end of the last semester of high school, he decided to take classes and found a place where he could shine. “When I was able to complete a figure I felt really happy; I realised I was good at it and I always gave my best,” he said. Taking dance classes allowed him to be a more disciplined, committed teenager.
"He has changed a lot,” says Victoria, his SOS mother at SOS Children's Village Tehuacán. “I remember when I met him he was a boy who always seemed to be angry, rarely listened and always watched me to see if his brothers were OK. Today he is a responsible young man and although school has always been hard for him, he is doing everything possible to take up a technical career.”
Rodrigo will soon move to a youth facility as a transition while he studies. “For my future I would like to have a job that allows me to support a family. I want to have children and be the best dad,” he says.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the children
Rodrigo with siblings and SOS mother.
Keeping siblings together is a principle of our work
SOS Children’s Villages believes that every child has the right to grow up with the protection and love of a family; ideally, with his or her biological family. We believe that every effort should be made to keep families together, and, in cases where separation is necessary, to promote family reintegration. Children who cannot remain with their families should be cared for in a loving family environment, where siblings can grow up together.