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 in Lesotho).

The Kingdom of Lesotho is an enclaved country within the borders of South Africa and has a population of around two million. Lesotho mainly depends on remittances from people employed in neighbouring South Africa and revenues from the export of diamonds and water. Although the country is relatively wealthy compared to others in the region, inequalities in income distribution persist and many people live in poverty. Rising food and fuel prices, and disrupted trade of goods and services as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, have taken a toll on Lesotho’s economy.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Lesotho since 1994.

Children are at risk

A significant proportion of the country's population still lives in poverty, especially in rural areas where people rely on agriculture for income, despite the volatile weather conditions. Children are particularly affected by poverty. About 40% of children in the country live in poverty. This means that they often do not get enough to eat and have problems growing healthily. In addition, many children and young people are infected with HIV or have parents living with the virus. In other cases, children are left without parental care because they have lost their family to HIV/AIDS.
Of people in Lesotho live in poverty

Inequality and poverty

Despite overall economic growth in Lesotho, more than half of the population lives in poverty. Only a small minority controls a vast part of the country's wealth. Poverty is deeply entrenched in rural, arid parts of Lesotho, where about 70% of the population live. Most people in these rural areas live off farming. However, the country’s land that can be farmed is limited, and productivity has been declining due to inconsistent weather conditions.

Of people in Lesotho live with HIV/AIDS


Although intensified government efforts have led to some improvements, Lesotho still has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world. Almost 23% of people in the country are living with the virus, 12,000 of whom are children under the age of 15. Many other children are indirectly affected, as they lose their parents to the virus. As the disease typically affects a country's most productive members, HIV/AIDS also has economic consequences.

People in Lesotho do not have access to enough food

Food scarcity

In light of inconsistent rainfall and recurring drought, many families in Lesotho face problems feeding themselves. The total area available for cultivation is already small. A combination of crop failure, low incomes and high food prices means that more than 500, 000 people in the country do not have access to enough nutritious food. Around a third of children under 5 do not grow healthily, with a very low height for their age. Brain development can also be negatively affected.

Together we can make a difference for children in Lesotho

Children and young people
Learn at our kindergarten
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Learning to care for animals and planting and harvesting vegetables are some of the many useful skills children and young people in our care get to develop, so that they become independent when they grow up (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Lesotho).

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