Construction of the fourth SOS Children’s Village in Nigeria has finished in Jos, after the social crisis in the town repeatedly delayed building work. The village will be opened and inhabited when it is deemed safe for the children and SOS staff to live there.
Jos has been in the world media frequently during the last few years. Located in Nigeria’s middle belt, high on the Jos Plateau, tensions linger in the area due to religious divisions and a system of classifying people as either indigenes or settlers. In 2008, clashes between Muslims and Christians took at least 200 lives. On the 23rd July 2010, a booby trapped bomb was discovered in a house, vacated during earlier unrest.
Construction of the village began in June 2008, a few months before the violence started. Safety was necessarily a vital issue during the village construction. Originally, construction works were due to be finished by December 2009, but unrest grew and building works were forced to stop. Throughout the building work, the protection of staff members took priority. Staff members were evacuated from the site in January and March this year, as violence once again hit the area. The village was completed at the end of June. The safety of children and staff will continue to be a priority when the village is opened. A specially designed Guard Room will be manned to provide added security.
The completed village consists of 12 family homes, an SOS Nursery, an SOS School and an SOS Social Centre.
In Jos, where violence and unrest has been all too common of late, it will come as a relief to many that the Children’s Village will be able to offer a sanctuary for orphaned and abandoned children caught up in the turmoil of the area.