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The child who did not know how to hug

“When I asked him to give me a hug, he just reclined his body on me.”, described the mother counselor of SOS Children’s Village São Domingos, Claúdia Santos, when she first noticed Roberto* emotional disability.

In only five years opened, the SOS Children’s Village São Domingos has been slowly becoming a light in a tight tunnel for the Capeverdean children in need. When Claúdia first noticed that the seven year old Roberto was unable to show any physical affection, she immediately thought how to win the challenge.

How could he do it?
Roberto lived with his mother and siblings in a high promiscuous environment. Her mother, a drug addict person, used to prostitute in her own house. By the time he was admitted to the village, Claúdia remembers well the first impression she got of him. “He was a reserved child and often he showed signs of emotional abuse, psychological disturbs”. One day “when I asked Roberto for a hug he just reclined his body on me”.

Roberto finally hugs
Claúdia started a project teaching Roberto how to hug. “I asked him to round his arms on my body” continued Mama Claúdia “and for the first time he did it very tightly and clumsily”. He never was hugged before. He could not touch people. Whenever adults talked to him he covered his head defending himself. Claúdia invited Roberto to her own house during some weekends. Finally today after some time Roberto does not stay apart when he greets Mama Claúdia after school. “I really taught him how to show love and affection” added Mama Claúdia and “he changed slowly by slowly”.
Roberto* name has been changed to protect her privacy.