The first SOS Village for the children of Somaliland
SOS have just officially opened a new SOS Children's Village and facilities for families in the community in Hargeisa in the west of Somaliland. Although the first families moved into the Village in 2008, construction is now complete and a ceremony marked its grand opening.
The Village was officially opened by the President of SOS Children, Helmut Kutin, earlier this month. The ceremony was attended by guests including the President of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, and the Mayor of Hargeisa. Children and their SOS mothers had spent weeks rehearsing special performances for the opening, and impressed the guests with songs, poems and traditional dances.
The President of Somaliland thanked SOS Children for working to provide a home for children in need. He said "it is great to see these tremendous efforts and I look forward to working with you for the sake of our country and our children." The President also expressed his hope that other SOS programmes will be set up in Somaliland in the future.
The new Children’s Village offers family-based care for 120 children who are unable to grow up within their biological families. In addition, an SOS Social Centre opened in 2008 runs a Family Strengthening Programme, providing social support for disadvantaged families in the area. SOS staff work specifically with families from especially vulnerable communities. These include refugees, HIV-positive families, and women widowed by the civil war in the late 1980s. As well as providing financial support and counselling services to all families on the programme, SOS have supported women to set up self-help groups, where they can receive training in specific skills. They can use this training to gain employment or set up their own small businesses with the goal of eventually becoming financially independent.
The SOS Medical Centre in Hargeisa looks after hundreds of thousands of children and mothers in the community. As well as providing free medical treatment to those on the Family Strengthening Programme, it is also a mother and child clinic, giving ante and post natal care for over 3,500 families, together with an "under-fives" programme which monitors growth and, in partnership with UNICEF, offers free immunisations against deadly diseases.
SOS also run a SOS Social and Medical Centre in Berbera, in northern Somaliland, as well as a SOS Primary School in Sheikh, around three hours from Hargeisa.
Through all of our facilities in Somaliland, SOS are supporting over 17,000 children and families. Find out more.