SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Burundi)

The Republic of Burundi is located in the heart of the African Great Lakes Region and has a population of over 11 million people. Decades of political conflict have resulted in a very unstable economic situation and the population is among the poorest in the world. With 80% of the people employed in agriculture, family income and food security are affected by recurrent droughts and other natural disasters. Other challenges include the widespread prevalence of HIV/AIDS and the poor education system. Despite some recent improvements in education, the illiteracy rate remains extremely high.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Burundi since 1979.

Children are at risk

600,000 children in Burundi live without any parental care. While many have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS, others have lost parental care due to the precarious economic situation. An estimated 25% of children aged 5 to 14 are involved in child labour activities – some are even forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Child trafficking was one of the main threats that children faced during the civil war and the problem persists to this day. Furthermore, children in Burundi are often malnourished and lack access to education.
Burundians live with HIV/AIDS


Like in so many other African countries, a major public health concern is HIV/AIDS: around 85,000 people live with the virus in Burundi. This not only depletes the country's labour force as many Burundians die from the disease, but also leaves children extremely vulnerable when they lose parental care as a result. In addition, some children become infected with HIV through their mothers during pregnancy, which leaves them vulnerable to complications.

Of people in Burundi are illiterate


Primarily owing to the country's poor education system, illiteracy levels remain extremely high: over 30% of Burundians cannot read and write. Often, children in Burundi are expected to contribute to household income and cannot attend school. In other cases, children who are left without parental care have to fend for themselves, leaving no opportunity for obtaining an education. While the number of younger children going to school has risen recently, there has been a drop in the number of 12 to 14-year-olds attending school.

8 in 10
Burundians are poor


Many years of intense civil war have contributed to widespread poverty: 8 in 10 people in Burundi suffer from poverty, making it one of Africa's poorest nations. Particularly in rural areas, people face precarious living conditions. The long period of fighting has destroyed important farming infrastructure and land, posing a threat to the primary source of livelihood for most Burundians. Due to high levels of poverty, around 35% of all children in Burundi are undernourished.

Together we can make a difference for children in Burundi

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergarten
Medical treatments
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages Burundi supports families in the neighbouring community so that their children can live in better conditions, and go to school. Jean and his family is one of the many families that SOS Children’s Villages Burundi is helping. Not being able to go to school is Jean’s greatest fear. “I’ll become a pilot one day. Then I can help children from my neighbourhood,” says Jean (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Burundi).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting.
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives