Bangui is the capital city of land-locked Central African Republic as well as its largest city with a population of over 730,000. The city is located along the northern bank of the Ubangi River and was originally a small French Equatorial African town.
We began our work in Bangui in the early 1990s after the country’s officials approached SOS Children for assistance.
A dangerous city
Bangui is the commercial and administrative hub of the country although it has experienced terrible ordeals due to corruption, rebel and terrorist acts, and political unrest. In 1996, it was listed as one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
The economy of Bangui has always been challenged because of limited infrastructure, poor education of workers, smuggling, mismanagement, and a political structure dictated by authoritarian policies. Just last 2013 Bangui was declared to be in the midst of a “climate of complete impunity” by the United Nations because of an ongoing conflict. Unfortunately, the victims ultimately are the young children and the marginalised.
Many of the schools no longer operate because rebels have taken over the facilities. The interim government claims the country has no money to pay for the wages of government workers. There is very little money circulating in the country and the poorest of the poor are becoming more desperate.
No child should witness violence or face the fear of death or the death of their parents but that is exactly what is happening to many of Bangui’s children. The UN has released data that children are being recruited to serve as soldiers and seeing violence on a daily basis. Also distressing is the lack of food and the displacement with over 6,000 runaway children or orphans roaming and begging in the streets of Bangui. They are also at risk from measles, malaria, physical and mental abuse, the HIV/AIDS virus, child labour, sexual abuse and poor working conditions.
Our Work In Bangui
The SOS Children’s Village in Gbangouma district is approximately 6 kilometres from the heart of Bangui. The existing programmes are medical care, education, and material support. The work has not been easy because of the risks in being in Bangui but the SOS families and our community are safe and protected as much as possible from their harsh surroundings.
The SOS families can accommodate the needs of over a 100 children. We also have SOS schools for nursery, primary and secondary levels. Most of the youth from the SOS Children’s Village move on to our professionally-run youth programmes where they are taught vocational skills that will enable them earn a living.
SOS Children supports several local families by offering child care so parents can go find work. Our SOS families coordinate with health agencies and our SOS Medical Centre to provide the children with immunisation and training in proper nutrition. The centre offers counselling for local parents, skills training, and psychological support to those affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. Our medical centre attends to an average of 1,000 patients every month.
Emergency relief at a time of crisis
CAR has been afflicted by ongoing violence since spring 2013, and thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. We are delivering emergency relief to the most vulnerable; providing care and support to children separated from their families, and supporting new and expectant mothers. Bangui is a key location in our relief effort.
SOS Children is working hard to make an impact on as many children as possible starting with the basics of good health, a safe environment, and a chance for a happy family life. Will you join these children in pursuit of a bright future, and become a child sponsor today?