The philosophy of the SOS Children’s Villages is that biological brothers and sisters stay in the same SOS family. Often also, the other children and youth living in the same family become like siblings with whom they grow life-long relationships. This is the story of Jenica who grew up in the SOS Children’s Village in Tapiola.

When I came to the Mummila* home in the SOS Children’s Village I was three and my sister was four. Over the years, the other children who grew up in the family have become like my sisters and brothers. We have spent so much time together and I have been able to talk about nearly everything with them.

The best part about growing up with siblings was that you always had someone with whom you could play games or do things. We share lots of good memories and experiences. We shared feelings of joy and sadness. You could not always be on your own when you felt like it when so much was going on all the time. Sometimes is could be hard to make compromises when everybody wanted to do different things.

We keep in touch with my siblings from the Mummila home. We are close even if we do not manage to meet that often. I have been able to spend less free time with them since I moved to live on my own, but I try to see them. We often meet when we visit the Mummila home.

I visit my foster mother almost every week. Sometimes I only make a short visit, but sometimes I can spend half a day there. Sometimes it is nice to just see how they are doing.

Often almost all the siblings gather in the Mummila home to celebrate Christmas. That is a lot of people, but it is nice to have everybody together.

My siblings mean a lot to me. They can support and help in different situations. I have learned many things with them, such as settling disagreements. Without siblings, life could be different. I believe that living with many siblings has made me socially more skilled and stronger. Especially when I was younger, they kept me company. I want to maintain good relationships and keep in touch with them.

I have lived on my own for a year and a half now. At first, it felt strange to be all alone after being used to living with other people. At the moment, I am busy doing my last year of studies. In addition to school, I try to see friends as much as possible and work out. Sometimes it is hard to squeeze in time for friends and siblings but I do try.

*All the homes in SOS Children’s Villages have been named after those who have influenced the work of the Children’s Villages. The Mummila home (mummila = grandmother’s place) was named after a great number of donators, grandmothers who want to offer the shelter of a home to children who need it.