The bond that ties
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/Mark Lehn
Just spend time with them, nurture them, and give them love. There are no difficulties in this, she says and then asks Grace for a kiss, who leans forward obligingly.
Grace's hope to find a foster family had
all but perished. Suffering from a mental
disability, Grace has lived in an orphanage
since she lost both her parents at the age of
6. Her three brothers were also placed in a
- It is very rare to find someone who wants
to foster, especially someone with Grace's
challenges. She has a mental disability but
she harms no one, says Alfredo Laitone, who
works at the state orphanage in Beira.
- In the beginning, Grace was very difficult
to handle, and required dedicated staff to
look after her. But for us, Grace is a success.
She has adjusted well, he says.
Grace's life could have turned out as
bleakly as it generally does for children
with disabilities, who are often subject to
discrimination and abuse, even at the hands
of their own families, who traditionally
see them as punishment or a curse. But Grace was lucky. One day five years ago,
Armandina came to work at the orphanage,
and things have never been the same since.
Once she sees me, she comes running and
kisses me, explains Armandina. When I do
not come to work, she misses me.
So attached are they to each other that, with
the support of the social action, Armandina,
a mother of five, is now formally fostering
Grace and caring for her at home, as if she
were her own. Armandina and her family
were even given a small farm with a little
house on it, to make sure she and Grace will
always have a home and some income.
When asked about the demands of caring
for a person with disabilities, Armandina
rejects any notion of difficulty.
- Just spend time with them, nurture them,
and give them love. There are no difficulties
in this, she says and then asks Grace for a
kiss, who leans forward obligingly. The deep
bond that unites them is plain for all to see.