Sponsor a child in Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire, or Ivory Coast, was once one of Africa's richest nations. Today, its people face widespread poverty, inequality and unemployment. Violence following elections in 2010 led to many thousands being displaced. In spite of challenging conditions, our charity has been supporting children in Ivory Coast for many years, helping those most in need of our care.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Côte d'Ivoire by sponsoring a child:
Thousands forced to move after election violence
Despite its former prosperity, half of all Ivorians face a life of poverty today. Many are chronically undernourished and life expectancy is only 58 years, while almost half the population is illiterate. During the recent civil war, as many as one million people were forced from their homes. Some stability has returned since a change of president in April 2011, but the situation remains tense. Allegations of human rights violations have been levelled against both present and former governments.
Children in Côte d'Ivoire
Infant mortality is shockingly high in Ivory Coast, while many children live without their parents and are forced to grow up on the street. Sexual exploitation, child labour and recruitment into gangs are all real dangers for these children. Another threat comes from both pro- and anti-government militias, which continue to exploit young children as child soldiers. Some armed groups have also been implicated in the sexual abuse of girls.
Our charity work in Côte d'Ivoire
SOS Children runs two communities in Côte d'Ivoire. Our very first Children's Village on the African continent opened in Abobo-Gare in 1971 to care for orphaned and abandoned children. With poverty on the rise, we have extended our work in recent years, offering support to fragile families in the community.
Abobo Gare, Abidjan
While our initial focus in Abobo Gare was on providing care for orphaned and abandoned children, recent years have seen a shift towards community support. As times have changed and the economy declined, more and more families have found themselves living in poverty. HIV/AIDS is another huge problem in Côte d'Ivoire, and SOS Children runs awareness campaigns in the community as well as offering assistance to affected families.
Our Village in Aboisso opened in 1983. A much smaller city of 43,000 inhabitants, Aboisso suffers from high levels of child abandonment due to a widespread cultural belief that the tenth child brings bad luck.
SOS Children focuses on helping families overcome barriers to income generation, encouraging entrepreneurship and helping children attend school. An SOS nursery provides schooling to local children and those from the Village, with many children going on to study at our primary school. As in Abobo Gare, we provide medical support to families affected by HIV/AIDS and run AIDS awareness campaigns throughout the neighbourhood to stem infection rates.
Our newest Children's Village in Côte d'Ivoire opened in Yamoussoukro in 2014. Children growing up here face all kinds of challenges. Poor infrastructure means that many go without healthcare and education, while high rates of HIV/AIDS leave many at risk of losing parental care. We support struggling families by filling these gaps, helping them achieve independence through skills training so that they can get better jobs or begin their own businesses. SOS families living throughout the community provide care to children who cannot grow up without their families.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Côte d'Ivoire: Achieving goals with determination
Serge was just five years old when he came to the SOS Children's Village Abobo. His mother was unmarried and he had never even met his father. Serge and his mother lived in extremely poor conditions: they were homeless and lived hand to mouth until the day Serge was found on a market and wound up in the SOS Children's Village. That was in 1975. Today, at the age of 39, he is one of Côte d'Ivoire's most successful caterers.
When Serge speaks of the SOS Children's Village, his eyes light up: “I found it easy to integrate into SOS Children's Village Abobo. We were all brothers and sisters and knew each other. We were happy to live at the SOS Children's Village”.
“I had two SOS mothers before moving to the youth house: Mama Béby and Mama Zaratou. They were dedicated to their work and took care of us as if we were their own children. I was often ill, but Mama Béby never complained. She took care of me as if she were my real mother. Thanks to her care and her attention, I got used to life at the SOS Children's Village very quickly”. Serge also had contact with his biological mother, who would visit him at the SOS Children's Village once a year.
Serge lived in the youth house for the three years that he studied catering. He left the youth house a year after completing his training, when he got his first job.
Serge often visits the village director, the SOS mothers, the SOS aunts (family helpers) and his younger brothers and sisters. "When I need to have a really frank discussion with someone, I go to the village because that's where my parents and friends are", he says. He also regularly visits his former SOS mother who now lives in Agboville, about 100km from Abidjan and she visits him when she is in Abidjan as well. Serge’s children love her and call her “grandmother”.
Serge believes that the SOS Children's Village played a very important role in helping him to become a successful businessman and a good father. "The SOS Children's Village enabled me to go to school and did everything to support me in having a successful life", he said.
SOS Villages d'Enfants Côte d'Ivoire
Rue des Jardins, Deux Plateaux
01 B.P. 6180
Tel: +225/22 44 13 84, +225/07 75 98 54
Fax: +225/244 90139