Mama Fadia discusses the powerful relationship of motherhood she experienced in 24 years at SOS Children’s Villages – Bethlehem.
Mama Fadia’s small stature stands in stark contrast to her spritely personality, warm smile and welcoming hospitality. Her door is always open, ready to offer a cup of coffee or tea, and even sometimes a plate full of her delicious Palestinian food, to anyone who passes by.
“I love all my children!” she explains. “Not just the six children who live in my home now. But all the children in the village, all the children who have lived with me over the years, and all the children who have lived in the village since I’ve been here.”
Mama Fadia has been a mother at SOS Children’s Village – Bethlehem for 24 years. In this time, she has had 34 children. Nine of these children have married and she now has 14 grandchildren as well. It is hard for her to recall the exact number of children, as she has opened her heart to the hundreds of children who have lived at the SOS Children’s Village in Bethlehem since 1991.
Currently, Mama Fadia is the mother to six children, 3 boys and 3 girls. 2 of the boys and 2 of the girls are biological brothers and sisters. Mama Fadia believes that patience is the most important characteristic needed for an SOS mother:
“Patience is the key. I’ve had to be patient with all the children who have come to live with me. It’s the most important thing. Eventually, my children learn that this is their home because they feel safe. Kids need to feel safe in order to develop and this is what SOS Children’s Villages provides when their biological families cannot care for them.”
When asked, Mama Fadia’s six children almost unanimously say that the best thing about Mama Fadia is that she loves all of them equally:
“She loves us all and does not differentiate between any of us,” says Ayman.
His sister, Sawsan, agrees, “She does not favor any of us over the other.”
Her children also point out Mama Fadia’s keen ability to listen:
“If I have a problem,” explains Hashem, “I tell Mama Fadia and she always helps.”
“If there are problems, she helps us solve the problem,” reiterates ‘Issa. “Even if I make problems, she talks with me and we talk about what I can do next time to find a solution.”
Mama Fadia firmly believes in the work of SOS Children’s Villages:
“Without SOS Children’s Villages, these kids would be lost. Without food, a loving home, a mother, and education they would be lost. These are basic needs in life. These are the things that help a child differentiate between right and wrong. Without a parent to direct them, they might get caught up with bad friends or resort to stealing in order to get these basic needs.”
For Mama Fadia, being an SOS mother is more than a job, it’s her calling in life:
“My calling in life is to be a mother. In my 24 years here, I realized that I need children and they need mothers. When a child calls me mom and I call him or her my child, it fills me with deep emotion. I found this emotion at SOS Children’s Villages, after living and experiencing the powerful relationship of being a mother.”
Mama Fadia’s daughter, Ghada, agrees with this sentiment. When asked to describe her mother, she replied:
“It doesn’t matter what her personality is. She’s our mom and that’s the most important thing.”
*The names of Mama Fadia’s children have been changed for privacy purposes.