SOS Children's Village Abobo-Gare is located in a very densely populated area of Abidjan. This was the capital of Côte d'Ivoire until 1983, and it remains the country's largest city.
The city also represents the most important industrial area in the country, and the population continues to grow as more migrants arrive to work and live. However, HIV/AIDS remains a serious problem, and many still struggle with challenging socio-economic problems.
A city of contrasts
Industrial growth has brought wealth Abidjan, but this has not benefitted all of its inhabitants. 20% of the population continue to live in slums throughout the city, where there is very limited sanitation and little access to many other public services.
Migration, which is driving the growth, has only exacerbated these problems, and this is particularly clear in the area where SOS Children works. Children are particularly badly affected by poverty, and this can impact on their future life chances.
Though there have been great improvements, the Côte d'Ivoire continues to be the most severely affected West African country in terms of HIV/AIDS. Worryingly, as a consequence of sexual violence during recent wars, women are more than twice as likely to infected than men.
This has affected children as well as adults. As of 2009, 63,000 under 14s carried the infection, and a further 440,000 had been orphaned by the virus. Female genital mutilation increases the risk of infection, and means that even amongst children the illness has a gendered impact.
What is SOS Children doing?
Abobo-Gare was the first SOS Children's Village in Africa and opened in 1971. We continue to work with the local community and develop sustainable solutions to the challenges that children in the region face.
Our family strengthening program aims to maintain family stability provide children with a caring
and nurturing home environment. Here, we offer families advice on topics ranging from setting up self help projects and HIV/AIDS education.
We also provide practical support to families, such as school scholarships and basic medicine. This helps families to overcome the challenges of poverty and illness, and in turn create a supportive environment for their children's development
Our medical centre also provides basic medical care to around 3,000 local people. This helps to ensure community stability, which can be equally important to children as a stable family environment.
The SOS Children's Village is made up of several SOS families that provide a home for up to 100 children who can no longer live with their parents. They live with their siblings and attend the SOS nursery and school with local children, which helps them to integrate with the community and make friends.
When these children are old enough to move out of SOS family home, we continue to support them to take their next steps as independent adults. Our SOS youth programme offers them shared accommodation and our qualified staff provide them with guidance and support as they navigate this transition.
When you become a child sponsor, you give a vulnerable child in Abidjan hope for a better future. Do something amazing today. Sponsor a child with SOS Children.