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

Mthatha is located in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, near the provincial capital Bisho. Former President Nelson Mandela was born in a small village not far from Mthatha. Today, the city has more than 200,000 inhabitants and is the most important urban service centre for about 1.5 million people from the surrounding region. However, the infrastructure, such as the sewage system and roads, are under pressure due to urban growth. Many people here live in poverty and have difficulty finding a secure job to support their income. For many children, this means growing up in dangerous conditions, not having enough to eat and no access to education.

Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mthatha.

Of people in Mthatha are poor

Consequences of apartheid

In Mthatha, unemployment and poverty rates are very high. In fact, an estimated two-thirds of the local population are unable to meet their basic needs. In addition, the economy of the region reflects the still existing racial inequality: the black African inhabitants - who make up 96% of the local population - have a much lower average income than the white African population. Many people here work in the informal sector, selling fruit and vegetables, offering tailoring services or working as hairdressers. Most of them are women, because many men migrate to other regions in search of work, leaving the women to take care of the family. Daily survival is a struggle for many families.

Of people in Mthatha have limited access to a hospital

Access to basic services is limited

Mthatha's infrastructure is under great pressure: the sewage system often breaks down, endangering not only the environment but also people's health. In addition, many roads are in poor condition and access to basic services is limited. In fact, 35% of the rural population has to travel over an hour to reach the nearest hospital, and the journey is very expensive. Access to education is also limited for the same reasons, which is why over 60% of the population is illiterate. Without quality health care and education, children and youth cannot escape the vicious circle of poverty.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mthatha

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 Mthatha

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.