TBI Blogs: Meet the Incredible Woman Whom 27 Children Call ‘Mother’

SOS Children's Villages of India is committed to the welfare of children - often throughout the whole of their childhood - and to strengthening families and communities as a preventive measure in the fight against abandonment and social neglect. The organization is over 50 years old in India and it advocates the concerns, rights and needs of children in need of care and protection.

At the young age of 25, Rosily Jacob decided to dedicate her life to serving the orphaned, abandoned children of the country.
Rosily Jacob joined SOS Children’s Villages of India as an SOS mother in the year 1990. What began as a job soon became her calling and her only abode in the years to come.

In an exclusive interview with the communications team of her organisation, Rosily lays bare her emotions and thoughts on her life, the 27 children she has raised and her commitment to the cause of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children of the country.

Twenty-five years and counting, Rosily is still at her jovial best. Here’s Rosily for you, completely honest and unreserved…

 

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Rosily with her children, Iron and Alby

Q: Twenty-five years of serving children in need. That is one amazing feat that you have achieved, Rosily. How does it feel?

A: I don’t feel like it has been 25 years! Living with children, seeing them get ahead in life has made me the happiest. I have raised 27 children – ten of them got married, many joined the armed forces, and a few of them have even settled abroad!

You know, Shobha is in Dubai, working as a HR consultant, Princy pursued her BSc in Nursing, and Bincy is living in South Africa! And, while Antony started his own business in the automobile industry, Francis has become a football trainer. Both Jenson and Jackson, they were twins, you see, have earned a degree in hotel management. And Vincent is working with a multinational! There are so many memories to cherish!

Q: What a lovely childhood they must have had with such a caring mother to look after them! Tell us, what was your first day at work like?

A: Oh, I still remember it so well! I received four small children – Daisy, Jessy, Jenny and Rinsy. I can never forget that feeling. My colleagues and I are trained child care professionals, but nothing can define the feeling when you actually take an abandoned or orphaned child in your hands and commit to looking after him or her for the rest of their lives. That feeling is unparalleled.

Q: That indeed is a special feeling. No one and nothing can replace the human touch. Tell us more about your interactions with your colleagues in all these years. Since all your time was spent at the Children’s Village, were you able to befriend a few of them? And what would you do in your free time? If you are left with any, that is!

A: (smiles) Yes, I became friends with a few of them. Mary and Any, who are now mothers at SOS Children’s Village in Thrissur, are my closest friends. I attended many training sessions in child psychology, child behavior, behavioral therapy and so on over the years and in turn, made many friends from the other Children’s Villages spread across the entire length and breadth of the country.

I always felt I was part of a larger movement, a cause bigger than my self.

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While looking at the photos of her children, Rosily reminisces

And, well, I do gardening in my free time. Most of the vegetables we eat are grown in our own backyard!

Q: Indeed, it is – the cause of orphaned, abandoned or vulnerable children. Aren’t we lucky to have a family of our own, just to rely on someone and feel cared for?

Rosily, you are truly an inspiration for so many men and women around the world. Our record tells us you started at the mere age of 25. What is your message for the young people starting in the field of social development?

A: Honestly, today, people may not have the heart to dedicate their lives to the service of children in need of care and protection. They may not have the patience to deal with children, but they need to understand that it comes with time and perseverance.

Social work should not be taken as a job; it is like answering your calling. When that voice comes from within, you know it’s the right thing for you.

Q: That unflinching spirit kept you going, Rosily and how! What about the challenges you faced in all these years?

A: Whenever a new child was brought home, other children took time to adjust to their presence. It is the same with our own siblings, right? We feel slightly left out if we think our brother or sister is being given more attention.

When Jenson and Jackson (the twins) came, Iron and Alby (also twins) became naturally jealous. They took time but later, were well adjusted with each other. It’s a part and parcel of every household – children fighting with other children, not completing their home work on time and so on.

I had real, every day challenges, but that’s what makes life beautiful.

More importantly, it’s these children who came home with a tormented past. So, the challenge of adjusting to new faces and energies was also theirs. But, as they say – real children have real problems.

SOS would like to thank Rosily for her time, both for the interview as well as for serving the children of the country. Few people are able to make their jobs, their lives and transform the lives of 27 once-abandoned children over the course of three decades.

Note:

Who is an SOS mother and what is her role?

A mother is a nucleus around which the entire SOS family revolves. She not only provides balance and structure to a household but also provides emotional and mental stability to the family unit. She is the main pillar in the child care model of the SOS Children’s Villages across the world. She builds a close relationship with every child entrusted to her, and provides the security, love and stability that each child needs.

As a child care professional, she lives with the children, guides their development, and runs her household independently. She recognizes and respects each child’s family background, cultural roots and religion.

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