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

Gulu is located in northwestern Uganda and is the commercial and administrative centre of the Gulu District. It has a population of approximately 150,000. The Gulu region is the historic homeland of the Acholi people, and it was at the centre of the violent conflict that riddled the country for decades. Gulu has become the country’s second largest city due to the great number of internal migrants from rural areas who fled here.Internally displaced people in the north of the country experience dire living conditions. Some children have lost parental care entirely as a result of the conflict or disease.

Since 2002, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gulu.

People have been displaced

Families are at risk

Conflict in Uganda has displaced many people in the country. In the camps that were set up for the internally displaced, people were dying every week, mainly from disease. Even after the conflict ended, violence continued, leaving children particularly vulnerable. Most of the internally displaced have returned to their hometowns, but returning to a normal life is fraught with challenges. Basic services are often lacking and families lack support to rebuild their livelihoods. It is particularly difficult for female-headed households, as they cannot reclaim the land they used to own if the husband or father is dead. Many children and young people have completely lost parental care and are extremely vulnerable. They need psychological help and support.

Children are living with HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS remains a major challenge

1.3 million HIV/AIDS remains a public health challenge all over Uganda, but the situation is very severe in the north of the country. During the conflict, the shelters for internally displaced people were very densely populated and had only minimum access to basic sanitation facilities or healthcare. Disease spread quickly and many people, including children, fell ill. In Uganda, around 100 000 children are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Even in cases where children are not directly affected by disease, it is a tragic reality for many children and young people to lose their parents to HIV/AIDS. They have to find ways of making a living, often at the expense of getting an education. This diminishes their chances to escape poverty.

Your support makes a difference for children in Gulu

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
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical treatments
Were possible
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Learning how to ride a bike. SOS Children's Villages supports families in creating an enabling environment where their children can develop and flourish (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Uganda).

How your support helps in Gulu

Strengthening vulnerable 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 trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Providing medical care
In areas with limited health services, SOS Children’s Villages provides medical advice and assistance. We offer preventative measures such as medical check-ups and vaccination programmes. Most of the patients who approach us for medical help come from local families, who could otherwise not afford to receive treatment.
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.