After decades of civil war, the people of Lubango are still struggling to find their feet again. SOS Children's Villages help fight poverty and try to instil hope for the future in children and families we work with.
Lubango is situated in the foothills of a small mountain range.
Ravaged by war
Angola was torn apart by civil war for almost 30 years and will take a very long time to recover - many areas lack civil amenities and services such as sewerage, healthcare and education.
The country's economy is in recovery but the new wealth is not evenly distributed. Though a large number of people have benefited, many more are still struggling. Lubango's local government is doing its best to rebuild basic services for the community but will take a long time to provide the basic necessities to help families and children recover from the ravages of war.
Impact of the war on children
Due to the war and HIV/AIDS, thousands of children have lost out, whether through losing their parents, or families abandoning them to fend for themselves. Many older children have ended up heading their families, begging or working to look after their younger siblings.Traditionally, extended families look after children their poorer relatives can't look after but so many are struggling that this often doesn't happen.
There is a very high rate of infant mortality and mothers often die in childbirth due to the lack of basic medical facilities.
From reactive to proactive support
On arriving in Lubango during the civil war, SOS Children's Villages provided emergency support to children and families in the city. We provided basic healthcare, vaccinations, and food to people in need. Since the war ended in 2002, our programme has changed to a proactive role.
We now provide Family Strengthening Programmes, designed to enable families to look after themselves, and in being able to do so they can avoid having to abandon their children. This might entail training parents in workplace skills to enable them to go to work, but also providing education for the children to give them a brighter future while allowing the parents to go to work.
How do we help in Lubango?
We provide a variety of services to the people of Lubango, which include social support, education and healthcare. These are designed to take a holistic approach to vulnerable people and enable them to better look after their children. We also look after children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and the war.
Our social centre provides vocational training to adults to enable them to earn enough money to look after their families. We occasionally provide loans to support them in starting their own businesses.
The SOS medical centre works in conjunction with local authorities, providing a basic level of healthcare for the community. Children are vaccinated against polio and public health campaigns are run to educate people about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as malaria and diseases associated with poor sanitation such as cholera.
A new loving home for orphans
Children with no one to look after them can find support and love through one of the SOS families in the Children's Village, where they live with SOS brothers and sisters. All children in the care of SOS Children's Villages get an education. We provide a development plan for each child. After primary education, all our children go through SOS youth programmes so they can learn how to fend for themselves when they become independent.
SOS Children's Villages run a nursery and primary school for the wider community. This improves their prospects and enable them to go further in life. Parents can go to work, knowing their children are looked after in a safe and nurturing environment.
Lone children in Lubango are provided with care, education and health services through our work in Angola. If you'd like to get to know one of the children living in our Children's Village, you can sponsor a child.