Gabú is on the eastern edge of Guinea Bissau, and is capital of the Homonymous region. It is also one of the poorest regions in Guinea-Bissau, and many children die of preventable diseases.
There is very little in the way of an education system and illiteracy sits at about 70%. Without an education, people cannot advance their careers and improve their prospects.
The 'silent emergency' of Gabú
Though recently there have been efforts by the government and outside agencies to get children educated and things are improving for the current generation, progress is slow. Teachers have poor wages and don't have the teaching materials they need. Thanks to this, motivation in the teaching sector is very low which contributes to high levels of absenteeism of students from school.
Other factors contribute to poverty in Gabú. Maternal mortality is the highest in Guinea Bissau, which is in part due to the scarcity of hospitals. Most women do not receive antenatal and postnatal care and medical professionals frequently don't attend births. Preventable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera still kill people in large numbers.
Child trafficking is a major issue in Gabú, where children are often traded across the unguarded border into Senegal. UNICEF estimate that 200 children a month are trafficked from Guinea-Bissau to other West African countries. Sometimes parents are led to believe their children are being sent to get a better life but the children are forced to beg on the streets. Others work in cotton fields in Senegal and young girls are indentured as domestic servants in conditions close to slavery. Those who escape are often far from home and are put into an even more precarious situation.
How we help in Gabu
We arrived in Gabú in 2001. Our Children's Village looks after children who cannot live with their parents. Here they grow up in a loving, family environment, under the care of an SOS Mother. Children play a role in their community while forging and maintaining bonds with family and friends.
We also run an SOS nursery which gives young children from the wider community an education while allowing their parents to work. We also run an SOS primary school for over 300 pupils in the community, and gives children a start that might otherwise be denied to them.
Every child in our care receives a loving family, education and healthcare. You can support them to thrive by sponsoring a child in Gabú today.