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

The city of Hawassa (also called Awassa) is the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia. It is located on the shores of Lake Awassa in the Great Rift Valley and has a population of approximately 259,000. The majority of the people live in rural areas, with those in Hawassa surviving off fishing in Lake Awassa or subsistence farming. Crippling poverty, lack of health care and education, and profound gender inequality affect the lives of thousands in this predominantly agricultural region of Ethiopia.

Since 1985, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Hawassa.

Of people in the region live in poverty

Widespread poverty

Poverty is a predominantly rural issue in Ethiopia. In the region where Hawassa is situated, 91% of the population lives in rural areas. Vulnerable families are more likely to be affected by natural disasters and, because they are isolated, they have less access to services such as healthcare and schools. Children growing up in families with many siblings or those headed by single parents, older relatives or other siblings are most likely to be poor. One in 4 people in the region live in poverty.

Of children in the region attend primary school.

High youth unemployment

The Hawassa region has one of the lowest rates of school attendance rates in the country. Only 34% of children attend primary school. Girls are more likely to drop out of school than boys. The number of children who go onto secondary school is even lower: 17% for boys and 15% for girls. Children stop attending school because they need to contribute to the family income. Nearly 11% of children are engaged in hazardous labour, such as commercial sexual exploitation or working long hours in the weaving industry. Many more help the family with household chores or subsistence farming.

Your support makes a difference for children in Hawassa

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
Children and young people
Learn at our kindergarten and school
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Young people receive support from SOS Children’s Villages. Some move elsewhere to study, but often come back for a visit (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia).

How your support helps in Hawassa

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 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.