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

Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city, located in the southwest of the country. Over 653,000 people live here. The region around Bulawayo has been severely affected by the economic crisis and many businesses have either closed or moved to the capital Harare. A growing number of families live in poverty and children are the most affected by these changes. Recently, the number of children in need of protection has increased.

Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bulawayo.

1 in 10
Children are poor in Bulawayo

Children are at risk

In the city of Bulawayo, one in ten children is poor. In the surrounding rural areas, however, the number of children living in poverty is up to seven times higher. In Bulawayo itself, 1 in 9 children do not go to school. Life in the city can be hard for many families, especially those living in the city's informal settlements. Most of them have no safe home, no clean water to drink and no access to medical care if they fall ill.

Of people living in Bulawayo are unemployed

Unemployment leads to migration

93% of the people living in Bulawayo are unemployed. Because it is so difficult to earn a living here, many have moved to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana in search of work. Children are often left behind to be cared for by other children, friends or older relatives. If they have to fend for themselves, they are at risk of abuse and exploitation. In fact, the number of children forced into labour has increased.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bulawayo

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
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Emergency services
Were possible
Gardening together. Children in our care take care of their environment and also form relationships that often last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe).

How your support helps in Bulawayo

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.
Protecting children in emergencies
In times of conflict and natural disasters, we respond to the urgent needs of children and families. In emergencies, SOS Children’s Villages focuses on keeping families together, and provide practical, psychological and medical support. If children are separated from their families, we look after them and work to reunite them. We also provide immediate practical assistance. For example, we create child-friendly spaces where children are cared for.
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.