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

Bakoteh is a district in the city of Serekunda, which is the largest city in The Gambia. Serekunda is located on the coast and it is part of the Greater Banjul Area. Because Banjul is confined by its location (it sits between the ocean and the river mouth of the Gambia River), many people who want to work in Banjul move to Serekunda. This has led to a big increase in population in recent years. Currnetly, this area is home to around 340,000 people.

Since 1982, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bakoteh.

Of girls gave birth before the age of 18

Early pregnancy

Even though there has been a steady decline in early pregnancy in The Gambia over the past years, the rate is still high: 19% of girls give birth before the age of 18. Where many aspects of life in The Gambia is concerned, there exists a significant divide between the urban and rural populations. In rural areas, almost twice as many girls become pregnant before the age of 18 compared to in urban areas. Many girls who become pregnant at and early age have to drop out of school which is why this negatively impacts girls’ education, livelihood, and health.

Of children are involved in child labour

Children at risk of forced labour

Child labour is common in The Gambia. In Banjul, where Bakoteh is located, children might sell newspapers, wash cars or beg on the streets, while in more rural parts of the country children mostly work in agriculture. Many children involved in child labour drop out of school because families think their time is better spent making money to ensure their family’s survival. The Gambia has a legal framework against child labour, however, it is not strictly enforced.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bakoteh

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
SOS Children’s Villages believes brothers and sisters should grow up together with their family. When that is not possible we care for them by providing a safe environment (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in The Gambia).

How your support helps in Bakoteh

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.