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

Bissau is the capital of Guinea-Bissau. It is home to around 400,000 people and is the economic centre of the country.It was founded by the Portuguese in 1687 and became an important slave-trading centre. In 1974, when Portugal recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau, Bissau became its capital. From 1998 to 1999, Bissau was affected by intense fighting during the Guinea-Bissau Civil War.

Since 1994, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families, and advocating for their rights in Bissau.

1 in 5
Children do not live with their biological parents

Lack of parental care

There are many reasons why children in Guinea-Bissau may not live with their parents. As a result of the high levels of mortality among adults, children have a higher chance of losing one or both parents as they grow up. This does not always mean that they lack care. Most children who do not live with their parents are looked after by their extended families. However, growing up without any parental care poses significant risks for children. They often face the challenge of having to take care of, and earn money for, their entire family at a very early age.

of people don’t know how to read


There have been improvements in achieving literacy in Guinea-Bissau over the past years. Youth literacy rates show that significantly more young people know how to read and write than older generations. However, there is also a big gender gap and far less women know how to read than men. Achieving and improving literacy skills is an important part of the right to education. It’s more than just being able to read and write: it can empower people and enable them to participate fully in society.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bissau

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.
Children and young people
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Children playing together. Brothers and sisters grow up together in families, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Guinea-Bissau).

How your support helps in Bissau

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.