Children from Kisumu, Kenya

Kisumu’s rapidly growing population, inadequate social and physical infrastructure, high unemployment rates and the threat of HIV/AIDS has left many families and children in a vulnerable position. 

SOS Children’s Villages began working with the people of Kisumu in 2010 to support those affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS.

A rapidly growing city struggling to support its residents 

The port city of Kisumu is Kenya’s third largest, and one of its fastest growing cities. Located in the Lake Victoria basin, Kisumu is home to around 500,000 inhabitants and is the principal city of western Kenya. 

In spite of Kisumu’s rich natural resources, many of its people live in poverty and as the population increases with the arrival of internal migrants, the city’s problems will continue to worsen. Unemployment levels are high and residents have very limited access to basic social services and most make a living from subsistence fishing or farming, both of which are unpredictable. Close to 45% of Kisumu’s families live on less than $1 each day, most are unable to afford two meals a day and malnutrition is common among children.

Children left vulnerable by poverty and HIV/AIDS

Population growth, inadequate infrastructure and chronic poverty have resulted in an increase in slums, which now encircle Kisumu’s central business district. Homes, schools and other structures are poorly constructed and unsafe and clean drinking water is scarce. 60% of the population do not have access to running water in their homes and with limited sanitation and waste management in the slums, dangerous waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid are commonplace.

Kisumu also has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country, at 24%. Families are severely affected and many children are orphaned, leaving the oldest child suddenly the head of the family, responsible for any younger siblings. These children take on the care of their siblings, usually by leaving school to work in order to feed their brothers and sisters.

How we help children in Kisumu

SOS Children began working with the people of Kisumu in 2010, opening a social centre to provide basic services to local families in need. The main focus of the social centre is its family strengthening programme, which provides parents with the basic support they need in order to continue caring for their children. The programme’s aim is to keep families together. The social centre assists parents with feeding, clothing and providing shelter for their children as the children attend school and develop important skills for the future.

sponsor a child in Kenya

New family homes

In our Children's Village, eleven SOS families provide a stable and loving home to up to 150 children who are no longer able to live with their parents. Children have the opportunity to experience a real childhood as they grow up alongside their SOS brothers and sisters under the care of an affectionate SOS Mother.

The youngest children attend the SOS nursery with children from families living locally. This allows them to make friends and establish connections with their community from an early age. The nursery accommodates children with special needs by providing Montessori method classes.

When a child in Kisumu has nothing and no-one, we take care of them in our Children's Village. You can support their happy childhood by sponsoring a child today!



Did you know? SOS Children cares for two of the children featured in BBC documentary Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children.