Fernando Pio Norberto

Village Director Chimoio SOS Children's Villages in Mozambique

Saving the life of Maria1

It is not always an easy task to save the life of the child in need. However, there is a time when the world calls, like in my situation, and you have to accept. 

I joined SOS in 1994 after completion of my studies. At that time, I had many opportunities to get other much cooler jobs but I decided to join SOS with an intention to help children who lost the direct care of their biological families like what happened to me. I got support from other people during the terrible moment in my country Mozambique2
In my profession, I was working with children and mothers with enthusiasm. Suddenly my director became so sick that he could not turn up for work again. This was the moment when I was given the responsibility at my young age to lead. 

I had my first challenge within my new responsibility when one of the children in the family houses was diagnosed HIV positive. After check-ups the CD43  count was regarded to be low and the doctor prescribed anti-virus medicine to the child. The report I got from the mother was that the child Maria was denying taking the medicine due to various reasons. The first thing that came into my mind was that if the child does not take the medicine she will die with many complications. I had to think of a strategy to meet the child. 

We had our talk on her way from school. I enquired her about her school academic matters. She had the pleasure to state that everything was in the smooth manner although she was not feeling okay during the last few days. I pretended as if I did not know of her health issues. I asked Maria if she had gone to hospital. She replied with a gloomy face that she had gone. I went on to ask if the doctor had prescribed any medicine for her. She continued “yes”. Now I could ask her if she had started taking the prescribed medicine. On this question her answer was ”no“. Tears started running down her face. Then she went on saying “I don’t see the need of taking the medicine while I know that I am going to die”. 

In order to start our counselling process, I had to think of strategies first. I told her “Being HIV positive does not mean that you will die. If you do not take your medicine other complications might arise and you could die because of that then.” From this point of time I could see her face turning back to normal and she started listening attentively as we were getting closer to her house. Obviously my explanation was plausible to her because after the counselling fortunately she started taking her medicine. 

Currently Maria is a young adult studying at university. The SOS mother who brought her up retired recently. Before retirement she expressed gratitude for managing her daughter to me. I am happy that Maria is now confident and performing well in her studies with more than 70 years life ahead.

1 Original name has been changed to maintain confidentiality

 2 From 1977 to 1992 there was a civil was in Mozambique, It was a proxy war of the Cold War. The ruling party and the national armed forces were violently opposed from 1977 by the Mozambique Resistance Movement which received funding from Rhodesia and (later) South Africa, About one million people died in fighting and from starvation, five million civilians were displaced; many were made amputees by landmines; the first multi-party elections were held in 1994. (seehttp:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambican_Civil_War)..

3 in humans, the CD4 protein are encoded by the CD4 gene. CD4+ T helper cells are white blood cells that are an essential part of the human immune system (…) They are called helper cells because one of their main roles is to send signals to other types of immune cells, including CD8 killer cells (…) If CD4 cells become depleted, for example in untreated HIV infection, or following immune suppression prior to a transplant, the body is left vulnerable to a wide range of infections that it would otherwise have been able to fight. (Wikipedia august 2014)

Fernando Pio Norberto
joined SOS CV in 1994 as a sponsorship officer.

Two years later he was promoted to head of sponsorship department. In 2007 he was appointed as an interim Village Director in Tete. Later on he applied and passed for the vacancy of Village Director in Chimoio, the fifth village in Mozambique;

He ensures that the individual needs of each child entrusted to SOS CV is accessed and protected. He unites his team to take part in issues that protect children within the village and beyond. Fernando enjoys working with children. “It is challenging and interesting”. Only by knowing each child with his or her behaviour Fernando feels being able to support them and conquer any difficulty in life so. “The overall goal is that they become independent in the future”.

Fernando is the fourth born in a family of six, three girls and three boys. Fernando and his twin brother grew up separately due to the civil war in Mozambique and got re-united in 1994 after the civil war. His father passed away when Fernando was still a little boy. 

Fernando is married and father of one boy and two girls. The last born is a four years old girl. During his annual leave he enjoys meeting with his family sharing stories of the past. “It is interesting to hear how all conquer the difficulties of life”. Above all, Fernando’s family enjoys his stories about his profession meaning that he is the father of 100 children in the village and married to ten wives.

Fernando often asks himself: “Why do so many people of the society I belong to abandon it?” Just a few people turn back to their society after succeeding in life. Fernando feels he belongs to SOS CV where he is a full member. His long staying in SOS Children Village is the fruit of recognising his part in society. Fernando feels responsible to respond to contributing to shaping their future as well he also enjoys to work as National Brand Advisor.

He is from Noakhali, eastern part of Bangladesh and the eldest child to a family of ten children. He is married and blessed with two daughters both of them in the university. His family lives in the Children’s Village and feels part of the community and finds a descent way of life in the village.

In his leisure time he likes to walk, loves sightseeing, travels passionately. Kabir much likes reading, listening to music and watching drama series. He enjoys children’s sports in the afternoon in the village and chatting with kids.

With his professional knowledge he endeavours to contribute through different activities to the development of his society. His interests are in Child Rights, Child Protection, Education and other social development issues.