Angola – A cardboard cradle and a mother's love

12 June 2020

(ANS - Luanda) - The Salesian NGO "Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo" (VIS) is engaged in Luanda, the capital of Angola, in an open center to protect street children from the Coronavirus emergency. Sergio Pitocco, VIS representative, shared the story of baby Sofia and her mother Dana, a teenager who, due to difficult family situations, had found refuge in the streets. Below, the story.

We first met Sofia recently, one evening, under a bridge in Luanda, the capital of Angola, near a large shopping center. Hers is a small story, a short story. Her life is also short, small, as it has only recently begun in the streets under the bridge that welcomed the very first few hours of her life, the same where we met her in her mom's arms. Sofia's story is also the story of her mother, Dana, a 15-year-old teenager who, from a broken family, already knew the streets where she had found refuge in a group of children, adolescents, and young people who then became her extended family. Here she found protection, but also a lot of violence and degradation, which with the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic worsened.

When one day Dana discovered that a life was being born inside her, she may have looked around and decided that, yes, despite the degradation surrounding her, it was worth giving birth to the child. Sofia was thus born in a small medical clinic on the outskirts, then reached her first home under the bridge where she also found her first cradle, a cardboard box.

We met her when she was just a few weeks old; for some of us, thinking about her instilled tenderness but also much concern: something had to be done.

VIS, together with the Salesians of Don Bosco, has taken the situation of Luanda's street children to heart for about 10 years, why a path of social and family re-integration was created via Reception Centers for the many children who populate the city ​​streets.

More recently, our attention has focused especially on the girls who live on the street because they are becoming more and more numerous; a reception house was opened for them too, a place where they can find an alternative to the street, live in a dignified way, and be supported by educators and volunteers.

When we made this proposal to Dana as the best solution for her and little Sofia, even if she was initially reluctant, in the end, she accepted. Now we are all a little more at peace knowing that Sofia, the youngest in this new family, and Dana, a young and courageous mother, have found a home, but it is above all the story of Sofia that gives us all the certainty that the love of a mother is able to overcome even the most difficult situations.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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