SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages South Africa).

Mamelodi is a township on the north-eastern outskirts of Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. Until the formal end of apartheid in 1994, Mamelodi was an area where only Black Africans were allowed to live in order to reinforce racial segregation. The heritage of apartheid and social exclusion is still felt here today and affects the life chances of local children. Living conditions are poor and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has made the situation worse for those living in poverty in Mamelodi.

Since 1987, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mamelodi.

Of children in South Africa grow up in poverty

Living conditions are very poor

The population of Mamelodi has grown steadily, mainly due to the influx of migrants from rural areas. Today, about 1.5 million people live here. Although there are small brick houses, the majority of people live in informal settlements. Despite government efforts to improve living conditions in Mamelodi by giving people small grants to build more permanent houses, the area is so overcrowded and the demand for housing so great that it has been impossible to keep up. Life in Mamelodi is still characterised by high levels of poverty and social exclusion. 50% of children grow up in poverty. Schools are understaffed, underfunded and often lack books and teaching materials. There is no running water in the houses, instead many families share public facilities.

1 in 10
South African children do not go to secondary school


In addition to existing hardships such as the lack of services and mass unemployment, Mamelodi has been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result, many children live with a chronically ill parent who is no longer able to care for them adequately. In addition, many children have already lost one or both parents to the disease already. In such cases, the eldest sibling often takes over the household and looks after their younger siblings. As a result, these children are often unable to attend school. In fact, 1 in 10 children does not complete secondary school. In some other cases, grandparents take care of their grandchildren, but it is often a challenge for them to provide enough food and an education for all of them.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mamelodi

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children in our care having fun playing together. Siblings grow up together in families, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages South Africa).

How your support helps in Mamelodi

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.