Sponsor a child in Central African Republic
With SOS Children's Villages, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Central African Republic by sponsoring a child:
Crippling poverty and political instability
CAR is ranked 185th out of 187 in the United Nations Human Development Index, and its people rely extensively on the help of foreign donors and charities. Two thirds of the population live in poverty, one of the highest levels in the world. Illiteracy is widespread, with over 43% of the population unable to read or write. A succession of coups over the last half century has left the country politically unstable. The latest upheaval has forced close to one million people from their homes, leaving many more in need of help.
Violence, poverty and disease hit children's life chances
- Nearly half the population of CAR is under 14 years of age.
- Hundreds of thousands of children have been orphaned by years of armed conflict, and many have been recruited as child soldiers.
- Little more than a fifth of children finish primary school.
- Many children contract HIV/AIDS from their mother. Around 11,000 women living in CAR need access to retro-viral treatment.
Children suffer in ongoing violence
- The recent violence has had a deep impact on children in CAR. By 2014, 450,000 children were in need of protection; many of them unaccompanied.
- Schools have closed, robbing thousands of children of their only route out of poverty.
- It is estimated that in 2014 alone, severe malnutrition will affect as many as 28,000 children in the CAR.
Our work in Central African Republic
For more than two decades, we have helped the most vulnerable children in CAR. As renewed violence threatened the well-being of children and families, we have offered emergency relief in a number of key locations. Today, we are providing food, shelter, clean water and medication to those forced from their homes by the violence. Our help especially goes out to children who have been separated from their families.
Bangui is CAR's capital city and home to over half a million people. Our Children's Village is about four miles west of the city centre, between the Gbazabangui hills and the Oubangui River.
As well as a loving home with an SOS mother, our children can find lots of green open space, where children can play together and make friends. A fish and vegetable market, a mission station and a hospital all lie close to the Village.
As our children get closer to adulthood, they move into our SOS youth homes, which form part of the Village. Here, they can keep a close tie with their SOS mothers, brothers and sisters, and continue their education, while learning to live independently.
An SOS nursery offers a fun pre-school education to 125 little children, from both the SOS Children's Village and the surrounding community. Nearly 500 children attend the nearby SOS primary school, which has 12 classrooms, a multipurpose hall, and a library. Local secondary schools are located in Bangui.
We also supported two thousand children and families in the community who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Our SOS medical centre treats up to 12,000 patients every year.
In 2009, we opened a second SOS Children’s Village in Bouar. We also offer education at our SOS nursery and primary school. Every year, we help 12,000 people in the community from our SOS medical centre.
Life in SOS Children's Villages CAR: Martin’s story
Martin came to live at SOS Children's Village Bangui in October 2008. He was nearly two years old. His father had died and he had been living with his mother, his brother Claude and his sister Anna in a ruined house, at the mercy of the bad weather. They were sleeping on the floor, on a piece of paper serving as a mattress. Martin's mother was young and poor. She had neither employment nor money to provide her children with adequate education and care. The children couldn't go to school and had limited access to healthcare when they were ill. They were obliged to walk all day long begging and asking for charity so they could have something to eat.
When Martin came to the Children’s Village he was tiny, pale, weak, and was suffering from malaria, aggravated bronchitis and malnutrition. He was immediately admitted to hospital where he stayed for several weeks, with his SOS mother spending as much time as she could with him. It was a difficult period for both Martin and his SOS mother.
"Even once he was home, Martin hardly ate”, his SOS mother said. “He was very shy. He hardly spoke and barely played with other children. He was always alone. I was the only person he accepted and for that reason it was difficult for me to leave him, because he needed my presence. He was afraid of everybody, even of cars. He would run to hide whenever he heard a vehicle arriving."
Fortunately, little by little, Martin began to recover and grow stronger, and slowly he became a cheerful little boy. Today, he is a transformed child who runs and plays in the Village with his brother and sister, who live in the same family house, and with his new SOS brothers and sisters. "I see remarkable changes in him every day. He is a new child compared to the one who arrived here. Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize him. He approaches people without being afraid and systematically wants to know what people are doing. He is not afraid of cars any more. As soon as he sees a vehicle he goes to touch it.“
Martin also loves music and dances to the sound of coupé décalé, a typical rhythm from Côte d'Ivoire. "I am happy and proud of him, when I see all the progress he has made", says his SOS mother.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
SOS Children in Central African Republic
Villages d’Enfants SOS de République Centrafricaine
Central African Republic
Tel: +236/70 99 28 93, +236/75 50 34 41