SOS Children’s Villages in Africa: A Continent of Diversity and Variety
Hunger, HIV / AIDS, wars: Countless children in Africa have to grow up without parents and in poverty. The SOS Children's Villages have been providing urgently needed help in Africa for more than 40 years. As early as 1971, the first children's village on the African continent was built in Abobo-Gare in Ivory Coast. Djibouti is the youngest country where the SOS Children's Villages became active. SOS helps in 46 African countries.
Africa’s unimaginable size ensures that things vary region by region, country by country, community by community. As a result, there is not one Africa – it is a region known for its variety and diversity in terms of everything from climate to culture to individual experiences.
A continent where the majority of the world’s natural resources are found but instability and a lack of infrastructure have prevented their excavation. This is now being cruelly exploited, foreign government and conglomerates building local essential infrastructure with the payment extracted in-kind.
What Children Face: Barriers to Empowerment
Much work remains to be done with regard to education and empowerment in Africa, for instance, 10.5 million children don’t attend school. 11 million children under the age of 14 are forced to perform child labor. On the other side of the continent, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are clearly the most vulnerable group in the bloody civil war that is still raging. The country has one of the largest numbers of child soldiers in Africa.
Across large section of the continent many children are denied the joy of childhood and an education. They are barred from empowering themselves, crippled by poverty.
A Unique Solution for Every Child: Our Work in Africa
There isn’t one solution that can be applied across the region despite some of the overarching similarities of challenges that the children face. The extent to which children are empowered varies, the access to medical care, the local infrastructure and the level of governmental support and stability are among the factors that determine how SOS Children’s Villages responds on a national, communal, familial and individual level.
Youth Empowerment: Breaking down Barriers
SOS is invested in Africa on a long-term scale, building schools for the local communities in the Children’s Villages, empowering young men and women to learn about their rights and become their own advocates. We strive to nurture the potential of the leaders of the future with the toolkit to deal with the inevitable adversity of life in all its forms, not just within our villages but within the communities.
SOS is tuned into the requirements of the future, and the market, and thus various national associations offer diverse programs related to mentoring and computer skills to prepare our alumni for the rest of their lives.
Emergency Response: Helping People who have Lost Everything
A significant proportion of our work in Africa is related to responding to disasters, man-made or natural. Over the years, SOS Children’s Villages has had the know-how and the local foundations to respond to a number of large scale humanitarian disasters.
These disasters, whether it be drought, conflict, epidemics or others, have a disproportionate effect on the exposed children, families and communities. As of 2017, we maintained 10 emergency response programs in Africa, helping people across the region who have lost everything and have nowhere else to turn.
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