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

The city of Byumba is located in the north of Rwanda and has about 70,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of both Gicumbi District and Northern Province. Although the economy has benefited from increased tea and coffee exports in recent years, most agricultural activity takes place at a subsistence level. This means that people eat the food they produce themselves. However, harvests are often small and some families struggle to feed their children. In addition, rural areas like Byumba lack adequate infrastructure, which means that many children cannot go to school.

Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Byumba.

Of children in Rwanda do not develop healthily

Many children are malnourished

Like all over Rwanda, many people in the Gicumbi district are employed in the agricultural sector. Most of them rely on farming to produce food for their families. A large proportion of rural families have only one hectare of land available to them, which is too small to earn a living. It also leads to over-farming and the degradation of the land, making it largely infertile. Farmers struggle to produce enough food to provide for their families. These factors contribute to the extremely high levels of malnutrition in the country, which is particularly dangerous for children. In fact, many children show signs of limited physical and intellectual development due to lack of enough nutritious food.

Of people in Gicumbi district cannot read or write

Access to education is limited

Although the level of education in Rwanda is generally improving, the availability of education is a matter of great concern in the Northern Province. In Gicumbi District, more than 65% of the population are completely illiterate, meaning they cannot read or write at even the most basic level. Children from rural areas often have to travel long distances to reach the nearest school. Sometimes they cannot afford to do so, or their parents need their help at home or contribute to family income. Furthermore, most teachers have not been sufficiently trained and receive very low wages, all of which can lead to low levels of motivation in the classroom. All this diminishes children’s opportunities for a better future.

Your support makes a difference for children in Byumba

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
Siblings having fun together. They grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda).

How your support helps in Byumba

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..