A tale of Zambian twins who lost their mother at birth

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Alice* and Mary* were born on the side of a dusty dirt road near Chipata in Zambia. Their mother had been walking to a clinic for hours in a remote district when she went into labour. She died shortly after giving birth to the twins.

Their father realized that he would not be able to take care of his twin daughters. His modest income from selling firewood was barely enough to support his two other children. And so, four days later, Alice and May became a part of our family at SOS Children’s Village Chipata.

Two years later

It has nearly been two years since the twins moved into the SOS Village under the care of their SOS mother, Mary.

“It was a delightful day,” Mary remarks. “And the rest of the children were very happy when they saw these two bundles of joy.”

Mary explains that she plans to make up for the fact that the twins have had a tough start to life by doing everything in her power to ensure their health, safety and happiness. Upon their arrival at the Chipata Village in Zambia, they were taken to the medical centre for a check-up. The two girls have grown into happy, healthy toddles who love to eat cereal mixed with ground nuts.

“The twins are my source of joy and have grown into beautiful girls; something I never thought would be easy. I want them to be a blessing to their grandparents,” says Mary.

Family ties

The twins’ biological family is very much a part of their life. Their grandparents adore them and they visit often. “Alice and May are the light in their grandmother’s eyes, and so loved by their father,” says Rosalia Mutenekwa, SOS outreach social worker.

The twins’ older siblings – aged six and four – are still under the care of their father. After their mother died, their father did not know how he could cope alone with two new borns. His only mode of transportation was a bicycle and the nearest health centre was a few hours away from his home.

In their SOS family the twins will have an opportunity to go to school and have access to medical services. These days, says Rosalia, you find two little girls with happy faces speedily crawling after their mother as she does her chores.

SOS Children’s Villages is launching a charity appeal on BBC Radio 4. Alexander McCall Smith will be telling the story of Alice and May who were brought to live at the SOS Children’s Village in Chipata, Zambia.

Tune into the SOS Children’s Villages charity appeal on BBC Radio 4 on:

*Names changed for privacy reasons

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