A girl and boy at the SOS Social Centre in Canchungo, Guinea-BissauIn one of the world's poorest countries, hardship often impacts children the most. Canchungo is in northern Guinea-Bissau, and child mortality is very high in the region, with many dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition.

Though the government has enacted policies to address the problems faced by children, most have little hope of improving their situation as adults.

Poor infrastructure endangers lives

The UN Development Index has ranked Guinea-Bissau as being the 176th most developed of 187 countries on the list. Living conditions are very difficult for most living there. Conditions in the north of the country are some of the worst by the even this country's standards. Infrastructure - things like health services and schools - are few and far between, and the healthy development of thousands of the country's children is severely impacted as a result.

With regard the country's health system, far more could be done to help its population. Health education campaigns are minimal and the costs of healthcare are beyond most inhabitants of the city. As a result there are high rates of people dying from preventable diseases and a very high infant mortality rate.

Education could help the most vulnerable

Literacy in the country sits at about 42%, but when looked at in terms of gender, 58% of men can read but only 27% of women can. Women are expected to marry early and have lots of children, but also are forced to rely on their husbands as breadwinners for the family. Literacy isn't just about education - in being able to read and write, one can engage with social and political life as well. As an example, if a woman could read she might learn about how the law protects her from domestic abuse and rape by her husband.

SOS Children in Canchungo

Children from Canchungo, Guinea-BissauWe have been working in Canchungo since 2007. We offer a range of services to the community and children who can no longer live with their parents.

Our social centre reaches people across the community. One of our projects is a family strengthening programme designed to keep children under the care of their parents, and we have a range of things we do to help. Firstly we try to ensure families get clean water, sufficient food and regular healthcare. We have HIV/AIDS awareness programmes. We help parents financially by offering micro-credits for small businesses, and help improve their homes by providing materials to build them with.

We offer children scholarships to schools, and for the very youngest we run an SOS nursery school. This enables working parents and single mothers to go to work while their children are in safe hands. 420 children from across the community attend our SOS primary school. 

A new loving home

For children who are no longer able to live with their parents, we offer them places in one of the SOS families. Here children grow up in a loving, family environment where they are cared for by SOS Mothers. Children with us attend school in the local community and are encouraged to forge and foster bonds with friends and family in the local community.

Children in Canchungo who have nothing and no-one need your help. Consider transforming a young life today, and sponsor a child.


Our Family Strengthening Programmes aim to prevent street children. By keeping families together, children can grow up safely in their own environments.