SOS Children’s Villages has been present in Botswana since 1998, helping families affected by HIV/AIDS and providing support and opportunities to vulnerable children.
We offer family-based care to children who can no longer be cared for by their parents and we advocate for all children affected by hardship and poverty.
HIV/AIDS casts its shadow over the otherwise prospering city of Francistown
Francistown is Botswana’s second largest city, with a population of more than 150,000 in the city and its surrounds. It is located 400 kilometres from the capital, Gaborone, at the confluence of two major rivers, and is 90 kilometres from the border with Zimbabwe.
Francistown was once an important centre for southern Africa’s gold mining and was prosperous from the late 1800s until the depression of the 1930s. The gold mines are now abandoned but Francistown’s primary industry is still mining, with large employers, Tati Nickel and Norilsk Nickel, producing copper, cobalt and nickel.
Today, the city is a transport hub and has a thriving hospitality industry, catering to travellers and business people passing through the city to visit Chobe National Park in the north. It has good social infrastructure and employment opportunities. However the spread of HIV/AIDS is a major health concern and a significant challenge to the stability and wellbeing of many families.
Strengthening and protecting families
As a result of HIV/AIDS, many parents and carers find they are no longer able to take care of their families. Some children are orphaned and others are left vulnerable and in need of physical and emotional support. SOS Children works to alleviate hardship and to support affected families so that, where possible, parents can focus on providing stable, safe and loving environments for their growing children. We want to ensure that children from families affected by HIV/AIDS are open to the same educational and personal development and achievement as any other child in the country.
SOS Children works closely with Francistown authorities and local organisations to strengthen support systems and services for vulnerable families within the community.
Our work in Francistown
Since 1998, SOS families in Francistown have been providing loving homes for vulnerable children who have lost parents or who can no longer be cared for in their family home.
In their SOS families, children grow up in a family environment with siblings and an affectionate SOS Mother. Each child is given access to education and training and each has his or her own development plan, which helps them work towards becoming an independent young adult.
SOS Children has its own nursery school in Francistown, providing a safe and happy location for children to play, grow and develop skills for daily life. Approximately 100 children from SOS families attend the nursery alongside children from local families and are looked after by professional and caring staff.
As the children in our Francistown SOS families reach adolescence, they are able to move to one of a number of youth homes in the city. These young people are supported by SOS Children as they continue their education or vocational training but live semi-independently under the care of a youth and education counsellor. This transition enables children from different SOS families to meet and form connections as they move towards becoming fully independent adults.
SOS Children has a dedicated social centre in Francistown, which primarily supports local families affected by HIV/AIDS. We ensure that vulnerable children are able to access education, medical treatment and counselling. Parents and carers also benefit from parenting advice, helping them to find the best ways to care for their children, as well as having access to training courses that develop their skills and increase their prospects of finding employment.
Beyond empowering parents and caregivers, SOS Children recognises that a child’s psychological wellbeing is crucial to his or her emotional and physical development. We work with local partners in Francistown to put in place initiatives and activities that allow vulnerable children time away from the burdens and responsibilities of real life, giving them time to just ‘be a child’.
Vulnerable children in Freetown need your help. When you sponsor a child, you will get regular updates about their thriving childhood.