Siblings – April 10 2019

Staying together in care

When twin brother and sister Naol* and Beki* arrive home from kindergarten, their SOS mother wraps her arms around them in a big hug.

“For children entering care, being with siblings can enhance their sense of safety and well-being,” says SOS mother, Bizunesh Shiferaw, from SOS Children’s Village Jimma in Ethiopia.  “They are not burdened with wondering where their siblings are and whether or not they are safe. Siblings in the same home can provide natural support to each other and some sense of stability and belonging,” she says.

The twins were born two months premature. Their mother, who came from a rural village in southwest Ethiopia, died after the delivery.

When the twins finally arrived in the SOS Children’s Villages Jimma, they required special care. Many people in the Village have been involved in supporting the children.

Beki and Naol are today two active five year olds. Naol loves to play football with his friends and Beki loves to sing and dance to traditional Ethiopian music.

Bizunush can hardly believe it when she looks at those early photos of the twins. “I’ve raised the twins since they were infants and they need a lot of care. They have a special place in my heart.” She says she can remember when she could cradle the twins in the palm of her hands.

Since their birth, SOS Children’s Villages has been able to find the father of the twins. He is in contact with them, although he is not in a position to care for them. They are open to reunifying the twins with him one day if the situation should change.

Meanwhile, Bizunesh considers their siblings relationship as crucial: “It assists children in maintaining a positive sense of identity and knowledge of their cultural, personal, and family histories.”

"Sibling relationships are emotionally powerful and critically important not only in childhood but over the course of a lifetime," she adds.


*names changed to protect privacy

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