SOS Children's Village Kita In the recent past, the people of Mali have suffered due to a food security crisis and violent conflict. High food prices and severe poverty continue to threaten thousands of families in Mali. To make matters worse, the violent fighting in the north of the country has displaced hundreds of thousands. The threats of food insecurity and violence endanger children A child enjoys a hug with her SOS mother, who is preparing the family's meal (photo: J. Honoré). Kita is a city of approximately 50,000 inhabitants located in south-western Mali in the Kayes region. Kita has an important processing industry, and the surrounding area is mainly agricultural. The Kayes region is among the driest in Mali and has one of the highest incidences of child malnutrition in the country. In March 2012, a military coup ousted President Touré while rebel groups in the north of the country were fighting for control of the region. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. In April 2012, the 140 children and co-workers living at the northernmost SOS Children’s Village in Mali, SOS Children's Village Socoura near Mopti, had to be evacuated and were moved into the two southern SOS Children’s Villages of Kita and Sanankoroba. In Kita, the children from Mopti joined the SOS families and attended the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and Kindergarten here. The evacuated children returned to SOS Children’s Village Socoura in July 2013. SOS Children's Villages continues to intensify efforts in the area The SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Kita supports local families, ensuring that children receive education, adequate nutrition and health care. We assist parents by providing guidance and training on income-generating skills, positive parenting practices and literacy programmes. We offer counselling and psychological support to children and parents, as well as day-care for the children of working parents. We cooperate with local organisations to ensure that we can reach out to as many struggling families as possible. Today, our efforts in the region are as important as ever, because an increasing number of children need support. What we do in Kita SOS Children's Villages has provided this family with health care, nutritional support and practical help so that the parents can earn an income (photo: B. Alou Kone). SOS Children’s Village Kita opened its doors in 2009. Today, up to 150 children from the region who have lost the care of their parents can find a loving home in one of 15 SOS families, where the SOS mothers affectionately care for them and their siblings. Children form a close relationship with their family and other members of the village, and this support is vital on their journey to becoming independent adults. Children in our care and those from the neighbourhood go to the SOS Kindergarten, thus ensuring that children from SOS families are integrated into the community from a young age. The children then go on to complete their primary and secondary education at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools in Kita. All three SOS schools in Mali remained open during the fighting and took in additional students, many of whom had arrived from the conflict-ridden areas of the country. We tried to give the children a sense of stability by allowing them to continue their education despite the difficult situation.