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Upheaval and violence affects 1.3 million children in CAR

We are providing food and shelter for displaced children across CAR
We are providing food and shelter for displaced children across CAR

Wilson has witnessed extreme violence and suffered great upheaval as a result of ongoing political and social unrest. One morning he awoke to the sound of gunshots and heard stories of headless bodies, including those of children, found in the river or by the side of the road. Children across Central African Republic (CAR) live in fear of violence, starvation and disease.

Following several coups and the brutal regime of Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the political situation has remained deeply unstable. The trading of illegal weapons, competition over the mining of diamonds and widespread corruption has made CAR an easy target for the Saleka rebel alliance.

In March 2013, the rebels ousted President Bozize and the country once more descended into violence. The volatile situation in CAR has quickly escalated since March 2013 with 2.7 million people now in need of humanitarian assistance, more than half the population of the country. 1.3 million of these are children.

“At any time war can start again”

Wilson is currently being cared for in the SOS Children’s Village in Bangui but even this does not provide the security needed. “Before the crisis, we went to school and felt secure,” another child at the SOS Village in Bangui says. “Today we are still afraid of going to school, afraid because at any time war can start again...Even in class we often hear gunfire. At times, the teachers stop classes and ask us to go home.” Security concerns mean that children are unable to visit their biological families and the psychological pressures of living in a permanent state of fear are felt by all.

The SOS Village at Bangui was looted in 2013, traumatising the children and their SOS mothers. “The death of one of them as a result of a stray bullet left a sad and unforgettable memory in the children,” said Marcel Koyadouma, the National Director in CAR.

Children and mothers gather in a school in Bangui during the crisis in CAR
We will provide safe environments for children to receive an education

How do we plan to help?

SOS Children’s Villages is proposing to recruit a national coordinator, health worker, security staff and psychologists at their locations in Bangui, Bouar and Bassangoa. It is hoped that this will allow us to protect over 15,000 displaced and malnourished children.

  • Protection: Children’s rights will be promoted at community level and 2 new child-friendly spaces will be created, bringing the total to 12. Child-friendly spaces provide pedagogical and psychological support in a secure environment.
  • Health and nutrition: We will create mobile health teams to provide care throughout the community. Children will be regularly screened for signs of malnutrition and pregnant and lactating women will receive food support.
  • Education: Schooling and vocational training will continue, providing a secure and familiar environment in the short-term and equipping children with the tools they need for the future. Safe transport will be provided for children travelling to school.
  • Housing: We hope to provide safe environments for displaced families to return to by supporting the rebuilding of homes destroyed during the crisis. We will also provide basic equipment such as beds and mosquito nets.

How can I help?

You can help us care for vulnerable children across CAR. We provide families for children in 3 locations and help create a stable upbringing for children in the community. We have been there for the worst affected children since the violence began and will be there long into the future. Your money will be spent where the need is greatest, whether supporting our emergency relief work or providing care in Children's Villages.

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