Mom, grandma foster mom

15 September 2015

Mrs. Chawatama is a 56 year old mother and grandmother from Specimen, Glen Norah A. According to her, she is a “natural foster caregiver” as she has always looked after children from her relatives. Currently Mrs. Chawatama lives with three biological grandchildren and other grandchildren from the extended family. She opens up to SOS Children’s Villages about family, and fostering.

Why do you foster?
Fostering has been my passion for a very long time. I have looked after children for as long as I can remember.

How did you know about SOS?
I worked at a local palliative care organisation as a caregiver for many years. It is through my work there that I came into contact with SOS as we worked together giving palliative care to some of the children in their care.

The Waterfalls Village caregivers then told us about their holiday short term fostering program. I was excited and decided to become a foster mom. After obtaining the necessary clearance from the government’s Department of Child Welfare and Probation Services (DCWPS), I took in four children from the Village during the school holidays.

How many children do you foster now from SOS?
At the moment I have a boy, Farai, who has just passed his A Levels and is now at Great Zimbabwe University. My other foster child is Lynette; she now lives with me permanently since she left the Village and was reintegrated into the community. She used to come to my home on holidays and became attached to us.

We love her dearly and when it came time for her leave SOS, she became a part of our family. At the moment she is in South Africa where she works.

What qualities does a foster parent need?
For one to be a good foster parent there is a need to have a long suffering heart and to be a good Christian. Some of the children when they came to live here have to learn basic social skills such as cooking, washing and interacting with people. I had to teach them all these things slowly and patiently without being harsh or getting angry. I had to teach them like I would teach my own children.

What lessons if any has fostering taught you?
For me, fostering has been a good thing; it gives you valuable life experiences. You get a chance to shape a child’s future and prepare them for life. It is good to foster than to watch children resort to living in the streets. I have already introduced my neighbors and friends and they too are now fostering. My relatives have come to accept that I will always have children in the house and everyone accepts my foster children.

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