Teresa Tuble, or Mama Terrie, was one of the first SOS Mothers at SOS Children’s Village Davao when it opened in 1981. By the time she celebrated her 60th birthday last September, she has had already raised 36 orphaned, abandoned, and neglected Filipino children.
Here are Mama Terrie’s reflections over the past 35 years of being an SOS Mother.
Why did you decide to become a part of SOS Children’s Villages?
As a Social Work major, I came to the SOS Children’s Village in Davao City and applied for a job. I was at first concerned that I wouldn’t be ready for such a challenging job, but eventually I saw myself becoming a family for them. It was not easy but my ties with the children motivated me to stay and continue.
What has been the most challenging part of the work that you do?
Just like every mother, the most challenging part of my job is when our children are slowly becoming adolescents. They face lots of issues within themselves such as rebelliousness, aggression, becoming independent, and many more.
What has been the biggest impact you have had on the lives of the children under your care?
The biggest impact I have on them is the love we share
. When they start sharing their life stories to other people, it makes me proud to know that I am a part of their stories. I want my children to know that they should never hesitate to come visit me. For as long as I am living, I am their mother. They can come here and visit their home anytime they want. I am their home.
Mama Terrie helping her daughter with her home work.
What makes you most proud about being the first SOS Mother at SOS Davao?
My children. Who and what they become always make me proud. Being a pioneer SOS Mother in Davao is a privilege and a big responsibility. I always tell myself to serve as a good example to the younger and newer SOS mothers.
What is the biggest difference between SOS Davao in 1981 when you first joined and now?
There are so many differences. Technology has changed everything, including the habits of the children inside the Village.
How has SOS Davao remained the same over the past 35 years?
The purpose of taking good care of the children is the same. It has never changed throughout the years. Our aim then to be the children’s family remains the same until now.
"Our aim then to be the children’s family remains the same until now."
What will you miss the most about being an SOS Mother?
Definitely, my children. And our home.
In what ways will you still maintain a connection with SOS Davao?
I will always maintain my connection to the children. My children can always visit me in my retirement home at the SOS Village. And I can have the children help me cope with technology so we can keep connected.
What are your plans for retirement?