Abomey-Calavi is a densely populated city close to Cotonou in Benin. It has large slums, which accommodate families trying to escape hardship in the country's inland rural areas.
SOS Children has worked in the city since 1987, improving the lives of children.
Families living in slum settlements
On the country's Atlantic coast, Abomey-Calavi is an important economic hub for Western Africa. Drawing newcomers from the poorer rural areas, tens of thousands of residents live in slums with poor access to sanitation, healthcare and education services. The worst parts of the city are also prone to flooding - in the floods of 2010 10% of Benin's population were affected by the disaster.
Malnourishment is common and hinders children's development. Being in a low lying tropical area, tropical diseases are rife, including cholera and malaria. HIV/AIDS is also a major health issue in the city, resulting in many children being orphaned or losing one parent. Abomey-Calavi has a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS than other areas of the country, and this particularly impacts women.
Children at risk
The poorest families of Abomey-Calavi cannot afford even basic healthcare. With a an average of 5 children per woman, large families have to make the same amount of money go further to support their children. Those in large families are at greater risk if one or both of their parents die.
Interventions are required to help families become financially self-sufficient, as well as giving advice about looking after children. SOS Children focuses on reaching out to families at risk of breaking apart, while providing quality care in our SOS Children's Villages.
How do we support families in Abomey-Calavi?
Since 1987, SOS Children has been working to help families do the best they can in difficult circumstances. This includes trying to keep families together, as well as looking after children who cannot live with their parents.
We intervene with struggling families by improving access to education and health services. We help parents with vocational skills and parenting skills, as well as making them aware of how to avoid the various illnesses that run rife in the city such as HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Many of those we help, including children, have HIV/AIDS which makes them more vulnerable and less able to look after themselves. Finally, we run a vaccination programme to prevent illnesses such as typhoid and malaria from killing children and their parents.
Caring for vulnerable children
SOS Children's Village Abomey-Calavi is an operation that runs a nursery, primary school and secondary school. These give children the opportunities in life that may have been denied to them without access to such facilities.
In our SOS Children's Village, there are several SOS families which provide a home for orphans in a supportive and loving environment. Children there go to school and engage in the community, getting the best possible start in life.
Although faced with a difficult start in life, we are able to support children in Abomey-Calavi towards a happy and healthy future. Will you help our work, and become a child sponsor today?