Cape Verde is an island nation located about 570 kilometres off the coast of West Africa. The archipelago, which consists of ten islands and five islets, became independent from Portuguese colonial rule in 1975. Compared to most parts of the African continent, Cape Verde is a fairly developed country where incomes have risen. However, not all people living here have benefited. There is still a lack of economic opportunities and poverty. As a result, a large proportion of Cape Verdeans have left the islands to live elsewhere. Of the families who continue to live in the country, many live in precarious conditions.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Cape Verde since 1981.
Due to the Sahelian climate, which is characterized by long periods of drought, there is often a lack of fresh water on Cape Verde. Around 41% of the population has no access to clean water in their homes. Due to the water shortage, many people have left the country's rural areas and moved to the capital. The country's rural economy is often affected by periods of drought, during which crops are destroyed. As a result, food is not always available, leading to malnutrition for some people.
Even though the poverty rate in Cape Verde has decreased in recent years, many people still do not have access to adequate housing, sanitation or public facilities such as schools and hospitals. Furthermore, many parents struggle to provide enough food for their children. Due to poverty and crop failure, around 1 in 10 children are undernourished. Life in Cape Verde remains a daily struggle for those on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder, and children are particularly vulnerable.
Although the Cape Verdean government has signed a number of laws to protect the country's children from the worst forms of child labour, it still exists for many children. They are employed in agriculture, where they are forced to work with dangerous machinery and are exposed to pesticides. Many children reportedly work as domestic servants, street vendors and car washers at traffic lights. Often the children have to work to support their families financially. Many of them have no chance of getting a good school education. Around 10% of children here do not attend primary school.