Kankan is a city with 200,000 inhabitants, and lies in the east of the Guinea, not far from the border with Mali and Cote d'Ivoire. Widespread poverty and spillover fro the civil wars of neighbouring countries have jeopardised family security in Kankan.
Access to basic requirements such as water is limited, and the local population occasionally come to blows with migrants over the right to accommodation.
A tough start for Kankan's children
Around 80% of the population of the newly democratic state of Guinea live in poverty, with little or no access to clean drinking water, sanitation or decent housing.
Like many parts of Guinea, Kankan has been directly affected by wars in the neighbouring countries of Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Conflict spilled over into the countryside around the city, forcing many people to leave home to escape the fighting. Their parents killed in the violence, many children were forced to leave school and work.
Displacement caused by the fighting led to trouble as migrants clashed with local people over resources such as education, water and healthcare.
The consequences of HIV/AIDS and Ebola
HIV/AIDS hasn't been as great an issue in Guinea as in other countries in the region, though it remains a pressing public health concern. Many children have been infected and thousands orphaned due to the disease.
A real problem recently has been Ebola. Our priority was the safety of the children in our care. SOS schools were closed to limit infection, and the children were educated within the Village. We also supported vulnerable families in the local community, providing vital information and things like disinfectant.
Children who lose parental support often eke out a living on the streets of Kankan, washing cars, hauling cargo or engaging in petty crime. Stricken in this way, they are unable to break the cycle of poverty.
SOS Children's Village Kankan
In the community
SOS Children works in the community to prevent family break-up and protect children. We deal with poverty at root, providing vocational training to improve parents' job prospects. Such training ranges from marketing and management classes to basic literacy classes for women. We also offer guidance in the skills parents need to support their children at home.
The SOS Social Centre offers childminding facilities so that parents can work, happy that their children are safe in our care.
A new family for orphans
For children who can no longer live with their parents, we offer family homes and holistic support. Living in an SOS family, children are cared for by SOS mothers and attend schools in the local community. Before beginning school, youngsters attend the SOS nursery, which is open to the whole community.
As young people grow up and need more independence, they join the SOS youth programme and move into the city. Here, they are able to attend further education or vocational training, benefiting from guidance in the important decisions that come with adulthood by qualified youth counsellors. We encourage children to stay in touch with extended family and help them grow up as part of their community.
The Children's Village in Kankan provides orphaned and abandoned children with a loving home and all the support they need to flourish. You can help give a youngster a happy childhood by sponsoring today.