Celebrating Mother's Day: The Story of SOS Mother, uMama Sylvia Busisiwe Mlalazi

9 May 2021

Sylvia is a loving mother of 9 children, including 2 toddlers and 4 youths at SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe (SOSCVZ) Bulawayo village. She believes that she has blessed hands that everything she touches turns out to be fruitful. She says that she is used to being a mother and that her job is a calling from God. “This job was a calling!
I was staying in Harare with my 3 biological children. I was in a train travelling to Bulawayo and we passed through SOS children’s village. I told myself that I’d love to work there. I didn’t even know what kind of place it was at the time. I then enquired about the place and I was told that it was an orphanage. My then pastor who was a board member of SOSCVZ then encouraged me to apply for a job there and I landed the job. It was a difficult decision to make because my husband had just passed on. I left my biological children in my mother’s care and came to SOSCVZ to serve as an SOS mother”, Sylvia said. She has been with SOSCVZ for 21 years and has raised 19 children in total. “10 children have left my care. I am in constant contact with some of them”.
Known for her baking skills, she imparts this skill to her children. She also teaches them gardening skills. “We have a vegetable garden which we work on with the children for our own vegetable supply. We also have a maize field which we have just harvested”, said Sylvia. She is strong, caring and committed. She says these children have become a part of her and its always difficult to deal with her feelings when the children leave the SOSCVZ village. The attachment she has with her children is real and strong. She narrated how one of her children, Mildred, was reunited with her grandmother and had to leave SOSCVZ. “It was so heart-breaking when she left in 2017. I cried and was so sad, but it’s something that had to happen and was in the best interest of the child to reunify with her biological relatives.” Integrating a new child within the family is a bit difficult but doable. “Children are my first priority, I sit down with the rest of the family to prepare them for a new sibling. I also make sure I establish trust with the new child so that they are comfortable enough,” said Sylvia.
Like any mother, she wants to see her kids flourish but sometimes the challenges she faces are beyond her control. The issue of access to documentation specifically birth certificates for the children is a huge challenge because it limits her children’s participation in important activities at school. “I am appealing to the relevant authorities to assist in improving access to documentation so that our children are not affected or left out of important extra-curricular activities at school.”Sylvia prides herself with raising stars. She has raised kids who excel in school and also sports. “My children have excelled in sport as you can see all these medals. I have also raised children who have become, Doctors, Engineers, Consultants, Accountants, among other professions, she beamed. I wouldn’t have raised these successful children without the support of SOSCVZ donors and sponsors. I am so grateful to SOS sponsors and donors for all the work that they are doing. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have transformed the lives of the vulnerable children under our care,” she said.

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