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 Malawi).

Malawi is a landlocked country in the south of Africa. Its population amounts to roughly 19 million and is growing rapidly. Malawi's largest city Lilongwe, in the central region, is also its capital. At present, Malawi is among the world's most densely populated and least developed nations. Although the government has been making efforts to fight high levels of HIV/AIDS, the pandemic still profoundly affects the country, both demographically and economically. Life expectancy is very low and Malawi's death rate continues to be one of the highest in the entire world.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Malawi since 1986.

Children are at risk

Children in Malawi face several challenges. They live in poor conditions in rural areas and have no access to running water, sanitation or medical care, which puts them at risk of contracting infectious diseases. In many cases, children have to work to make ends meet and do not go to school, making it extremely difficult to escape the vicious circle of poverty. In addition, young children are particularly affected by food insecurity, as malnutrition has lasting negative effects on their physical and mental development.
5 in 10
People in Malawi live in poverty

Widespread poverty

More than 5 out of 10 Malawians live in poverty. Millions of people, especially in rural areas, live in dire conditions. They still have no access to running water, adequate sanitation or medical facilities. Many people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but recurrent floods and droughts threaten this source of income. It is estimated that about half of the country's poor people live in extreme poverty and struggle to get enough to eat. This has particularly serious long-term consequences for children, as they do not receive enough food for healthy development.

People live with HIV/AIDS in Malawi


Although the Malawian government has taken concrete measures to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the virus still has a major impact on the country's society. About 1.1 million Malawians are living with HIV/AIDS and 65,000 are children under 15. This makes the country one of the most affected countries in the world, and thousands of people lose their lives to the virus every year. Many children also lose their parents in this way and are left without care and vulnerable to all kinds of risks.

Of Malawian children under 14 work

Child labour

In Malawi, child labour affects 26% of children aged 5 to 14. Severe poverty and loss of parental care due to HIV/AIDS are the main factors driving thousands of children into child labour to earn a living. While boys usually work in the fields, girls sell goods or are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Although school attendance has increased in recent years, only about half of the children complete primary school and the education of those who do go to school remains a challenge due to the poor quality of education.

Together we can make a difference for children in Malawi

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Learn at out kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
In addition to supporting families so that they can stay together, and caring for children who have lost parental care, SOS Children’s Villages also runs kindergartens and schools (photo: C.van Heerden).

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 train 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