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.
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.
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.