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 Rwanda)

Situated in Eastern Africa, the Republic of Rwanda is home to over 12 million people. It is a very small country and the most densely populated in Africa. Its history is marked by large-scale ethnic violence between the Hutu majority and dominant Tutsi minority. The country has come a long way since then, but in many ways it is still striving to rebuild. The government has introduced some measures to reduce poverty, widen the range of economic activities and develop the country’s infrastructure. However, poverty still persists and many Rwandans lack access to proper housing, safe drinking water and sanitation. Furthermore, the HIV/AIDS epidemic still poses a challenge.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Rwanda since 1978.

Children are at risk

In Rwanda, an estimated 590,000 children are growing up without their parents, and many more are at risk of losing parental care. This is often due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Without care, children are often left to fend for themselves and live in poverty. Many children are malnourished, which has a long-term impact on their development. Many also lack access to clean water and sanitation, putting them at risk of disease. In desperate need to contribute to household income or support themselves, many children drop out of school. Without an education, the chances of escaping poverty are slim.
People in Rwanda live with HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS & Malnutrition

While the Rwandan government has made the fight against infectious diseases a national priority, HIV/AIDS remains one of the country’s major public health concerns. Around 230 000 people, 14 000 of those children, are affected. Many children are at risk of losing their parents to HIV/AIDS, others already have and must now fend for themselves. Furthermore, malnutrition is a health crisis in Rwanda that is particularly dangerous for children. A lack of enough nutritious food affects growth and can have long-term negative effects on development.

3 in 10
Rwandan children do not complete primary school

Lack of education

Rwanda is one of the best-performing countries in education. Around 98% of children officially attend primary school. Nevertheless, several challenges in education remain. Although nearly every child enrolls in primary school, only 3 in 10 children will complete their primary education. Girls are even more likely to drop out of school, as they are expected to help in the household. Furthermore, classrooms are often too crowded and the quality of education is still relatively low.

Of the population lives in poverty


Poverty in Rwanda has dropped significantly over the past years, but around 39% of people continue to be poor. Poverty is particularly high in rural areas. Most people live off farming here, but many families struggle to produce enough crops to live off of. Thousands of Rwandans do not have access to proper housing, safe drinking water or proper sanitations, such as toilets. This is particularly dangerous for children, as they are at hightened risk of water-borne diseases.

Together we can make a difference for children in Rwanda

Can stay together
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical treatments
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda supports children and young adults on their path to adulthood. Shema, with the help of SOS Children’s Villages, has been able to start a small business in ICT in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. “I am dreaming of making it big,” says Shema, adding that she plans to reach many people through her business (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda).

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