Siblings: Growing up closer in care

Published on 7.04.2023

Naol* and Beki*, the twins we first met in 2019 from SOS Children’s Village Jimma in Ethiopia, are growing and thriving.

They were five years old then; today the twins are nine and a half. Beki and Naol have grown strong and healthy despite being born premature.

Beki is now slightly taller than her brother.

Bizunesh, the children’s caregiver says she has watched in awe at their blossoming friendship.

“I have a very special love for both of these children. You know, they were only 17 days old when they came to me,” recalls Bizunesh. “I am amazed when I see them now looking strong and healthy. They have grown up so well and are leading a happy life with me and the rest of the family.

“I feel quite happy to see them reach this stage in their development,” she says.


The children’s biological mother died after their birth. Their father was not able to step in to care for them, and that is how they ended up with Bizunesh at the SOS Children’s Village.

Bizunesh says whenever she looks at the brother and sister chatter, laugh and play together; she can see the deep love and loyalty towards each other. Her gaze often conjures up the first day she held them in her arms.

“The children were in a fragile situation. It was a rush against time to save their lives.

“I was not sure how this story would end. Beki’s condition was particularly critical.

“I gave them all the love and care they needed, day and night, carefully providing nutrition and medication as ordered by doctors. And thank God for all the people who supported the children, Beki steadily recovered.”

Beki and Naol are now in the fourth grade. The only similarity between the fraternal twins is their birthday.

Naol is outgoing and has a mischievous smile while Beki is reserved and quiet. Sometimes when she has trouble expressing herself, Naol speaks for her.  

And, in spite of the occasional sibling rivalry, Bizunesh says they are very protective of one another.

“Beki is kind to me. She always helps me with anything she can,” says Naol. “She also likes telling me funny stories. We are very close and hang out together at school and at home.”

Beki says, “My brother loves supporting me with schoolwork when we study together. He is very good at drawing and he is teaching me how to do it.”

As the twins gets older, so have their interests. Naol’s love for football has waned. These days he prefers watching cartoon movies and he has found his passion for the arts.

Beki loves sport. She still sings and dances to traditional Ethiopian music, but she finds playing football with her friends more enjoyable.

Family talk

With little prompting from Bizunesh, the children jump into a conversation about school and dreams for the future.

“Math, English, science, and Afan Oromo (the language of the Oromo), are my favourite subjects at schools,” says Beki. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I love supporting people with health problems.”

Naol, on his part, likes art, Afan Oromo, and English. “I want to be an artist because I love drawing pictures.”

He draws pictures of anything that inspires him.

Keeping the siblings in the same family has been good for their well-being, and has worked well to strengthen the bonds between them.

Bizunesh says children in care have already suffered loss and sometimes abuse and neglect. Separating siblings would only add to their trauma.

“As their mother, I see that living together has helped their emotional and physical development in many ways. They feel stable and happy in their life. The presence of one has helped the other feel confident and content in their school life, with the family and me. Raising them together has played a great role in maintaining a positive development in their life”


Naol and Beki are in touch with their biological father and they know him well. He is still not ready to bring the twins home. Occasionally they visit him in a nearby village where he lives.

“They frequently talk to their father on the phone,” says Bizunesh. “I let them talk to him whenever they want. They also visit him in the summer during school break. Beki and Naol will go and live with him permanently when he is ready to raise them.” 

*Names changed to protect the privacy of the children.

Through sponsorship, you can help children like Naol and Beki to thrive in a stable environment and make a lasting difference to their lives.

For more information, contact Sonia Dos Santos at 490430-26 or by email at


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