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 Gikongoro is located in Nyamagabe in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The district is home to the eastern half of the Nyungwe Forest, which attracts tourists to the region as chimpanzees and other primates live there. However, living conditions for most of the local population in the region are harsh. More than half of Rwandans have no access to clean water, and here in the south of the country the situation is particularly critical. For this reason, many people, especially children, are at great risk of contracting water-borne diseases. In addition, HIV/AIDS continues to be a problem in the region.

Since 1992, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gikongoro.

2 in 3
People in Rwanda lack access to clean water

Lack of access to clean water

Living conditions in the Nyamagabe region, where Gikongoro is located, are very tough. Almost 2 in 3 people in Rwanda do not have access to clean water, and in the south of the country, the situation is even more severe. In addition, drinking unclean or unsafe water is the cause of many water-borne diseases in the region, which are particularly dangerous for children. In fact, a large part of consultations in health centres are due to malaria. Like in other parts of the country HIV/AIDS also continues to severely affect the population. Illness is often the cause for a family’s descent into deeper poverty, since most people are subsistence farmers, and if they cannot work, they cannot eat.

Children per class on average

Quality of education is poor

In Nyamagabe, most schools were destroyed during the war. Classes are often held in borrowed buildings. In most cases, there is neither running water, nor electricity, nor adequate sanitation. There is also a great need for teaching materials, a standardised national curriculum, and qualified staff. Classes are very large, averaging 62 children per teacher. This particularly affects the agricultural sector. The lack of knowledge of, and access to, modern farming methods is causing environmental degradation which, in turn, causes food shortages and malnutrition. This has particularly negative effects on children, in addition to the fact that without a proper education, future chances to escape poverty are slim.

Your support makes a difference for children in Gikongoro

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
Children and adults
Received medical support
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 Gikongoro

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.