SOS Childen in Guinea
Despite possessing great mineral wealth, the people of Guinea are among the poorest in Africa. Around 82% of the population live in poverty and lack access to clean drinking water, good sanitation and adequate healthcare. Amidst political and social instability, SOS Children is helping reach out to young people who desperately need our support.
You can help orphaned and abandoned children in Guinea by sponsoring a child through SOS Children:Sponsor a child in Guinea
Poverty and high illiteracy blights progress
Increases to fuel and food costs shook an impoverished nation in 2004. Coupled with electricity shortages in the capital Conakry, this led to mass protests and the deaths of more than 100 demonstrators. With one of the world’s lowest literacy rates, only 29% of adults know how to read and write. Less than half the population benefits from schooling, meaning that the majority of young Guineans never get to see a classroom. An astonishing 82% of women are illiterate.
Children in Guinea
- The country has a mortality rate of 61 per 1,000 live births. Thousands of births, across the country, are not attended by any skilled medical staff.
- Many young children die from preventable diseases, such as measles, malaria or yellow fever. Sadly, after no cases in years, Polio has now returned to Guinea.
- Around 40% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 26% from weight deficiency, in spite of the multiple recent campaigns to improve the situation.
- Approximately 440,000 children are growing up without their parents, roughly 59,000 of whom have lost parental care because of AIDS. HIV remains a major public health issue, with 9,000 children afflicted by the disease themselves.
Our work in Guinea
In 1985, we were given a plot of land in the village of Sinfonia, about 25 km east of the capital Conakry, to build a community, a nursery and a primary school. The SOS Children's Village Conakry opened in 1989 with eleven family houses. The school and the nursery became operational a year later, taking in children from the neighbourhood as well as the SOS children. In 1995, an SOS Youth Home was established in Conakry for the older children on the verge of leaving the village.
We built our second SOS Children's Village in Guinea in N’Zérékoré in the south-eastern corner of the country in 2001. About 5 km outside the town, it has ten family houses as well as a nursery and a primary school, both of which are attended by local children.
Over the years, SOS Children has carried out various community outreach programmes, including the provision of shelter and food for children and staff evacuated from our community in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau.
A third Village, together with a nursery and a primary school, opened in Kankan, the country's second biggest city, approximately 520 km east of Conakry in 2005. It has twelve family houses which are home to 120 children.
Aids Orphans in Guinea
Life in SOS Villages Guinea: who is the children's favourite pop star?
At SOS Children's Village Conakry, in Guinea, the children are only allowed to watch TV at the weekend and during the holidays. Everyone gathers in the TV room to watch cartoons, music videos, and the SOS mothers also join the younger ones in the evenings to watch their favourite Brazilian soap opera and to listen to the latest news. It was on TV that the children first saw the well-known international pop singer Shakira.
Ever since then, the village has had an amazing number of mini Shakiras! Not only do the children love her songs, but they are also love the way she dances. Both girls and boys try to dance and move like her.
As 16-year-old Marie explains: "Shakira's way of dancing and the way she moves her hips is amazing! My older sister Salimatou, who is 17, is an expert. She is good at copying her dances and also teaches us how to do them," she adds. "Every Saturday night, from 8 to 10 pm, we put on music for people to dance to. Even the little ones join in and copy the older ones!"
Ten-year old Ousmane is one of the best male dancers. And he is very proud to be able to show that he can shake his hips like Shakira.
Marie explains that the older children have even been organising dance competitions for the younger ones every Saturday for the past year. Two family houses are selected to compete against each other. Each house selects its own 'Shakira', who will have to perform one of Shakira's songs. Then the children from the two houses dance to Guinean music.
Ten-year-old Esther still holds the title of the 'Best Shakira Dancer', but every weekend (apart from during the exam periods when everyone stays at home to study) she has to defend her title.
*names have been changed to protect privacy
SOS Children in Guinea
Association du Villages d’Enfants SOS de Guinée,
Quartier Yattaya - Commune de Ratom,
Tel: +224/602 12451, +224/605 96739
Fax: +1/360 3233984