“Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
A woman does not become a mother merely by giving birth but by experiencing motherhood. While biology plays an important role, a mother is also defined by her traits as a guardian, as a pillar of strength, and the love with which she nurtures. She is the one who empowers and teaches valuable lessons of strength and independence. This coming Independence Day, we salute SOS Mother Geeta Singh, who has recently been honoured with the Helmut Kutin Award.
44-year-old Geeta is an endearing yet unyielding woman. She has been serving as an SOS Mother in Children’s Village Khajuri Kalan in Bhopal, a village dedicated to caring for children with special needs.
At SOS India, we believe in the immense power of every woman to become a mother. SOS Mothers are not biologically related to children in our family homes, but their role and contribution in the lives of children is what makes them mothers. An SOS Children’s Village comprises of 8-10 family homes. In a family home, 8-10 children reside with an SOS Mother, who is the head of the family. She looks after the physical, nutritional, educational and emotional well being of all children to ensure that they get the right attention, resources and opportunities to grow and blossom into adulthood.
SOS Village Khajuri Kalan
SOS Village Khajuri Kalan is a village committed to the welfare of children with special needs. It was established in the year 2004 and provides a family like environment to all children coming from diverse backgrounds. Our aim is to help them get aligned with mainstream society by achieving economic independence and settling down as contributing members. At present, the Village consists of 14 family homes, where 186 children live under the loving care 14 mothers and 12 aunts to assist the Mothers. In addition, the Village also has a fully equipped medical and therapy center to train children to become self-reliant so that they can carry out their regular tasks on their own.
Geeta joined the SOS India Family in year 2003. Seeing her exceptional caring and nurturing skills, she was appointed as an SOS Mother in Khajuri Kalan to care for children with special needs. She was scared at first, since she had no prior experience on drawing strength from taking care of such children. But as time went by, Geeta gradually gained more confidence and clarity about her role. Apart from educating her about the physical needs of children at Khajuri Kalan, Geeta learnt about their emotional and special needs as well. She was taught to deal with various medical conditions and the dos and don’ts of taking care of a specially-abled child. She was also trained to perform therapy for children with walking aid. She taught herself the extensive guidelines regarding special diet of these children.
Its common knowledge that raising children with physical and emotional impairments is not an easy task. For a brief moment, she did consider backing out and moving back home when she was informed about her appointment at Khajuri Kalan Village. However, once she took charge and came to the Village, she developed bonds with her children and decided to continue her journey as an SOS Mother. She adds,
“It has been 14 years now that I have been at SOS Children’s Village Khajuri Kalan. Till now, I have raised 12 children with special needs. At times, it has been very demanding and very challenging, but I have always found support from SOS India and all my fellow SOS Mothers. When I see my children succeed in life despite all the odds, I feel I have achieved my life’s purpose.”
Geeta’s Children Soar High
Geeta’s children suffer from a wide range of mental and physical challenges. One of her daughters is both visually and speech impaired. She is also unable to express her emotions effectively. Despite her disabilities, today, she is an accomplished athlete. Incredibly, Geeta also taught herself Braille to be able to assist one of her visually challenged children so that they could communicate in the best possible way.
In 2015, two of Geeta’s children Shruti and Vijay were selected to participate in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, Los Angeles and won medals for the country. Not only did their victory make Geeta proud, it was a very special moment for SOS India too.
Geeta’s bond with her children stands on the roots of trust, love and care. She has always been very sensitive towards the psychological needs of her children and tries her best to maintain a balance amongst all of them. Ensuring equality within a family is very important to foster a healthy connection between a mother and her children, which Geeta does brilliantly. She shares a warm and loving bond with all her children. Together they have overcome many hurdles over the years and today they shine brighter than ever.
Geeta regards being a mother at SOS India a blessing that turned her life around. She feels immense gratitude to God and to the organisation for having given her the opportunity to work for the welfare of these special children. After having served in SOS India as a mother, Geeta says,
“Giving birth is not enough; one has to nurture the child with love and tenderness, preparing them for their future, teaching them to be responsible for their own lives.”
Recognising her selfless contribution, Mother Geeta has been awarded with the Helmut Kutin Award for the year 2017. She shares this award with another SOS Mother, Mariam Traore from Burkina Faso. The prestigious award ceremony marked the presence of Helmut Kutin, Honorary President of SOS Children’s Villages and Siddharth Kaul, President of SOS Children’s Villages. Mr. Kutin gave away the Awards to both Mothers in a ceremony held in Berlin, Germany on July 5th, 2017.
Helmut Kutin Award
The Helmut Kutin Award recognises the outstanding service of co-workers from SOS Children’s Villages across the globe which is present in 134 countries. Assessment of performances is done on the basis of the impact created in the lives of the programme participants.
Geeta’s journey has been filled with bother bitter and sweet times. But it came as a surprise to her when her seemingly impossible dream came true. She says,
“I just could not help being amazed by my life. My marriage broke down because I could not be a mother. But here I was, undergoing special training to become a Mother.”
An audio visual of Mother Geeta narrating her journey in her own words was shot by SOS India. Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhvfaH6odWE
Find out how you can help SOS Children’s Villages’ efforts to give more children secure and better upbringing, here.