From dawn to dusk with Leila

Leila came to SOS Children's Village Sarajevo a year ago. She quickly found her place in the family of SOS mother Suada and became her SOS siblings' favourite. She took this role seriously ensuring that she spends at least some time with every family member every day.

On a typical day, Leila wakes up around seven in the morning and, after washing up and having breakfast, gets ready for school. She attends the second grade in the nearby school which she likes "but not always and not all the time" she admits. "My favourite is recess," giggles the girl, adding that she loves to play different games during the breaks with her classmates.

Maths is difficult (Photo: Senad Gubelic)
Maths is difficult (Photo: Senad Gubelic)

Leila shares her school desk with another Leila. Apart from the name and desk, the two girls share all their little secrets which they neatly write down in a pink locked diary. "We also help each other with the subjects, especially maths," adds our Leila. She isn't particularly fond of maths, but understands how important good grades are. "I thought additions were difficult, but now I think subtractions are worse," she sighs.

When she comes back home after a hard day's school, Leila is happy to see her older SOS brothers and sisters around. She knows that each one of them gladly offers her a helping hand whether for practicing reading, riding a bike or helping with folding the laundry.

Most often fourteen-year-old Ana is in charge of helping with the homework and house chores. "Ana helps me with the math problems and my reading. In return I invite her to all my afternoon tea parties with my dollies," explains Leila.

If the weather is nice, Amar and Haris, Leila's brothers, like to take their little sister outside and help her ride the little plastic bicycle. Leila has outgrown it some time ago, but she still fancies a spin and the boys like to see their sister smiling. They promised that this summer they'll teach her to ride a bigger bicycle.

Learning how to play chess with her SOS brothers (Photo: Senad Gubelic)
Learning how to play chess with her SOS brothers (Photo: Senad Gubelic)
On rainy days, Leila finds fun indoors. Lately, she and her SOS brother Goran have taken up playing chess, at the suggestion of Vedran, the oldest boy in the family. Leila and Goran haven't learned all the moves yet, but Vedran is positive that their determination will soon make them good players of this ancient game.

Once all the homework is done, lessons are learned and games are played, the family sits down for supper. Leila has a very important chore to finish then. Together with her SOS mom she sets the table. "It's not difficult and I like doing things with mom," says the littlest one.

After supper, it's time for Leila to cuddle a little with mom, watch her favourite cartoons and - well it's bedtime already. A story and a goodnight kiss send a sleepy girl to dreamland. Another busy day awaits her in the morning.

For privacy reasons, the names of all children have been changed.