SOS Children in Angola
Angola is still recovering from nearly three decades of civil war, so our charity work is challenging but vital.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Angola by sponsoring a child:
The civil war caused deep political, social and physical scars that Angola still has to address. Despite an improving economic situation, 77% Angolans still live in poverty, and the life expectancy is only 48 years. Although Angola is very rich in natural resources, such as oil and diamonds, the benefits are only filtering through to some. HIV/AIDS continues to affect the population. Up to 200,000 Angolans are living with HIV, and over 10% of the total are children under 14 years of age.
Children in Angola
- Tragically, 220 out of every 1,000 children born in Angola die before the age of 5. This is one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. The figure is so high because qualified medical personnel are rarely available at the time of birth, and lives are lost from preventable and curable diseases.
- The lack of food in some regions, such as semi-rural areas, means that one in three Angolan children is malnourished.
- The civil war left around 700,000 children without one or both parents. In total, there are as many as 1.5 million orphans in Angola and over 100,000 of these children were orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
Our charity work in Angola
SOS Children began its work in Angola in 1994 with the construction of an SOS Children's community in the southern town of Lubango. We set up a wide-reaching vaccination programme against meningitis, an illness from which hundreds of children were dying.
This programme was followed by the opening of SOS Children’s Village Lubango in 1998. The Village is situated approximately 3 kilometres outside of Lubango Village and provides a home for up to 130 children in 13 family houses. The Village has an SOS Nursery and an SOS Primary School for up to 680 children. An SOS Youth Home accommodates up to 24 youths whilst they are undertaking higher education or vocational training. This gives them the chance to prepare for an independent life under the guidance of their youth leaders. Family Strengthening Programmes support families in the local community to help prevent family collapse and child abandonment. The nursery school, primary school and a medical clinic are open to local people with over 900 patients treated by the clinic every year. With many state-run schools and hospitals still closed due to the recent war, these projects provide valuable facilities for the wider community that are not otherwise available.
During the civil war, Benguela, on Angola’s west coast, served as a refuge for thousands of people from the mountain regions, and many refugee children were placed in refugee camps and orphanages there. In 2001 we began running Family Strengthening Programmes in Angola, offering support to vulnerable families in the community, many of whom have been affected by HIV / AIDS.
The main aim of the Family Strengthening Programme is to help children at risk of losing their natural family environment by strengthening their families' ability to care for them. This includes providing educational scholarships, school materials and school uniforms and medical support. SOS Children also provide business training for parents so that they are able to support their families financially. Moreover, a local orphanage receives material support through the scheme.
A new SOS Children's Village in Benguela was completed in 2005. There are 13 permanent family homes for almost 130 orphaned and abandoned children, many of them war orphans. There is also an SOS Nursery School for 100 children and an SOS Primary School for nearly 780 children. A large sports field is attached to the primary school for the children to play outside. In addition, an SOS Medical Centre with a capacity for about 500 patients has been built on the village site, providing assistance to both those in the village and in the local community.
A third Children’s Village opened in Huambo in 2010, a province greatly affected by the war, making its children the most vulnerable. The village is on the outskirts of town and comprises 12 family houses for up to 120 children. An SOS Social Centre has been running its Family Strengthening Programme since 2008, focusing on providing a range of services for HIV and AIDS-affected families. There is also an SOS School, educating up to 600 pupils.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Angola: Family Strengthening
The Family Strengthening Programmes in Angola have run immunisation campaigns, established feeding centres and promoted literacy.
Take a look at the circumstances of three families and how the Family Strengthening Programme have helped them:
The Cussucala family
While mourning the loss of her husband in the Angolan civil war, mother Cussucala and her seven children became displaced and fell on hard times. The now vulnerable children dropped out of the educational system. The family was fortunate if they managed to eat once a day and their clothes became old and tatty.
Mama Cussucala was given a loan of 5,000 Kwanza (USD 66) to start a small business by SOS Children. She started baking and selling cakes. In addition, she enrolled on a sewing course and was given a sewing machine so that she could make clothes for her children and to sell to others. Her second son is considered to be one of the best pupils in the SOS Primary School.
The Jacob family
Also displaced after the war, this family of four soon faced tragedy. Due to a lack of basic services Mrs Jacob died as a result of malaria in 2004. Her husband, who was working on a neighbouring farm, received two kilos of maize or 200 Kwanza (USD 2.50) a day. Unfortunately after a year he became very depressed, started drinking in excess and lost his job. The children ate once a day when possible and roamed the streets for handouts.
SOS Children Village in Lubango provided each family on the Family Strengthening Programme 7 hectares of land for an agriculture farm to grow crops both for themselves and to sell. For dad Jacob, working a piece of land that he considers to be his own has been therapeutic and he has significantly cut down his drinking. He enjoys working and the children are happy to have hot meals each day.
The Job family
This family came from the Ganda municipality, Benguela province, to Lubango as displaced people. Mr Job passed away in 2001 leaving his wife, five sons and a daughter alone. The children dropped out of school and meals were a rare thing as the family had no income.
SOS Children helped Mama Job to get copies of birth certificates for her children so that she could receive child care grants. She was previously employed as a domestic worker but due to poor health she resigned. The Family Strengthening Programme provided her with a loan of 3,000 Kwanza (USD 40) to start a small business selling beads and charcoal. The children were given school uniforms and the funds to go back to school. The family can now afford to eat healthily and the children are able to concentrate better and as a result, do well at school.
In addition to the examples of these three families, another 447 children in the Mapunda, Calumbiro and Sra do Monte areas are benefiting in a similar way through the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in Lubango, Angola.
*names have been changed to protect privacy
Aldeia de Crianças SOS Angola (associated)
Caixa Postal 332
Tel: +244/2612 45101
Fax: +244/2612 45889