SOS Children in Cape Verde
For over three decades, our charity has been helping children in Cape Verde live a better life. Unfavourable conditions for many children, including forced child labour, mean that our work is important in helping children get a stable childhood.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Cape Verde by sponsoring a child:
A challenging climate but life is improving
Cape Verde is better off than many countries on the mainland of Africa, yet still faces the impact of a Sahelian climate which leads to droughts and crop failures. Approximately 14% of Cape Verde’s youngest children are undernourished. Poverty rates are dropping though and the country is doing well in its attempts to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals.
Forced labour and high infant mortality make childhood treacherous
- Many children are forced to work. Young boys work in the agriculture sector, which exposes them to dangerous working conditions, machinery and pesticides. More children work on the streets or as domestic servants, meaning that a lot of children miss out on the chance of going to school and getting a normal childhood. The government is implementing laws to reduce the number of child labourers, but it will take time for all child labour to be removed.
- The infant mortality rate in Cape Verde is 23 per 1,000 live births, as health professionals now attend many births. Whilst low by African standards, the figure is still much higher than western standards.
Our charity work in Cape Verde
We have two communities in Cape Verde. The first, SOS Children's Village Assomada, opened in 1984 on the island of Santiago, the largest of the nine inhabited islands.
The community, on the outskirts of the town of Assomada, is about 40 km from Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, and enjoys a superb view over the mountains. The ten family houses are home to up to 100 children. The SOS Nursery has four classes and capacity for 100 children, the majority of which come from the surrounding area where there are limited nursery facilities. Older children from the village attend the local schools. The village also has a small clinic providing basic medical care for local people. The village is well-equipped with a play and sports ground where children can learn games and have fun together outdoors. There is an SOS Youth House close to the Village where up to 15 young adults can live whilst they make the transition to independence. The youths are encouraged to take responsibility for their time and budgets; learning valuable life skills whilst under the guidance of qualified youth workers and counsellors. The SOS Youth House consists of five rooms, a common room, a kitchen, two living rooms, and two dining rooms.
SOS Children also run Youth Development Projects, holding workshops in trades such as carpentry to help equip young people with vocational skills for their future careers.
Increasing rural-to-urban migration towards the end of the 1980s led to a higher population density around the capital Praia and an increase in social deprivation. This led to a rising number of abandoned and orphaned children.
Therefore, in 2003 SOS Children’s Village São Domingos was built to provide a new home to vulnerable children in this area. The village is only a few kilometres from the capital Praia, on the side of a hill in the small village of Sao Domingos. Here there are ten family houses, painted in traditional colours, which are home to 100 children. The SOS nursery school has two classrooms and is attended by 50 children from both the village and the local community.
SOS Children also run a Family Strengthening Programme in Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, aimed at providing support for the increasing number of vulnerable street children in the area. When the programme was launched in 2005, it targeted 111 children in the community. In April 2008 the SOS Social Centre São Vicente was opened on the island, providing child care, psychological support, food and medical support to street children. The centre comprises four workshops, emergency accommodation and a sanitary block. In addition to caring for street children, the centre also serves as a recreational and educational centre for youths from São Vicente. Library, internet facilities and extra classes are on offer to young people in the local area.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Cape Verde: Joyce's story
Joyce arrived at the SOS Children's Village Assomada in 1985 at the age of nine. She came from a large family of nine siblings and has experienced very hard times in her young life. Her mother did not work and her father did not earn enough to take care of the family. Through the intervention of the Social Promotion Office, Joyce was admitted to an SOS family in Assomada.
From a very early age Joyce had shown interest in the SOS Children's Village philosophy. When she came to the Village, Joyce followed the SOS Children's Villages' principles very carefully. She loved to look after her brothers and sisters and always showed interest in working with children and caring for them. When the time came for her to leave the SOS Village, Joyce was supported by SOS Children to start her independent life as a nursery teacher working in the SOS Nursery.
Joyce is now engaged to another teacher and they both are living together in a flat near the SOS Children's Village. Joyce is one of the best "results" of SOS Children's Villages' commitment on Cape Verde.
*name has been changed to protect privacy
SOS Children in Cape Verde
Isla de Santiago
Tel: +238/264 73 79
Fax: +238/264 73 82