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

With a population of over 900,000, Bobo-Dioulasso is Burkina Faso’s second largest city and an important economic centre due to its textile industry and central location on trade routes. This makes it a promising destination for migrants from rural areas who come to the city in search of opportunity.There is a multitude of difficult social and economic factors that affect families in the region, including high rates of poverty and HIV/AIDS, a lack of education and health care facilities, as well as inadequate sanitation and the consequent spreading of infectious diseases.

Since 2004, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bobo-Dioulasso.

2 in 3
Girls are not able to read or write

Children without an education

Since the situation in rural areas of Burkina Faso is dire, many people move to cities like Bobo-Dioulasso in hope of a better life. Increasingly, young boys migrate on their own in search of work, often encouraged to do so by their parents. Girls as young as ten or eleven are sent to work as domestic servants for wealthier families in the city. However, they make little money and, as they have no support or protection in a strange city, they are also vulnerable to violence and abuse. In addition, these children do not usually receive an education, and this is especially true for girls. School attendance is low and 2 in 3 girls between 15 and 24 are not able to read or write at all. Without an education, escaping poverty becomes near impossible.

Children have lost parental care due to HIV/AIDS

Children are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS

While people in the cities generally tend to be better off compared to rural areas, urban life bears others risks for children. These include the prevalence of drugs and commercial sexual exploitation. Young girls who migrate on their own are particularly vulnerable to becoming involved in commercial sex work or being sexually exploited by their employers. Often, these girls also lack knowledge about HIV/AIDS and are very vulnerable to contracting the disease. Due to HIV/AIDS, around 100,000 children have lost parental care. Lack of appropriate sanitation facilities in overcrowded parts of the city also put people at risk of water-borne disease. This is particularly dangerous for children.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bobo-Dioulasso

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.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Sisters looking after each other. We work to ensure that brothers and sisters can grow up together (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Burkina Faso).

How your support helps in Bobo-Dioulasso

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.
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.