Beira is Mozambique's second largest city and is located in the east, on the Indian Ocean. This location has made it an important gateway into the country as well as many of its landlocked neighbours.
The surrounding region was badly affected by the civil war that ended in 1992, and this continues to shape people's lives throughout the area. Unable to continue traditional farming due to unexploded land mines and damaged infrastructure, many have moved to Beira in search of a more stable livelihood.
The city's population grew rapidly due to high levels of immigration, and public service provision has struggled to keep pace. Many migrants have found it difficult to find places to live and have had to make their homes in slum housing. These have little access to infrastructure like drinking water or sanitation.
This has an obvious impact on children's quality of life, and the effect can ripple throughout their lives. Nowhere is this more clear than in the lack of educational opportunities, which will make it difficult for children to achieve their full potential as they grow up.
The impact of HIV/AIDS
The region around Beira has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in all of Mozambique and there is a severe shortage of facilities to help treat those living with the disease. When parents become ill children have to take on caring roles, and when they die children are left to fend for themselves entirely.
The loss of parents from HIV/AIDS is a major contributing factor in the growing number of children who live on Beira's streets. These children are some of the most marginalised in society and are at extreme risk of exploitation and abuse. Growing up with few opportunities, makes it very difficult for them to break out of this cycle of poverty.
How has SOS Children been helping?
The local government was struggling to cope with the increasing number of children in need of care, so they contacted SOS Children to help overcome this challenge. In 2011 we started supporting vulnerable children and families, and we have continued to expand the work we do in Beira.
Working with the community
Our SOS family strengthening programme targets parents who are struggling to care for their children, with an emphasis on those affected by HIV/AIDS. We provide a range of practical services, such as nutritional support and healthcare, as well as counselling to help them cope.
We aim to reach over 1000 children and 250 adults through our work. Not only do we work to keep families together, but we ensure that every child grows up in an environment that will allow them flourish now and in the future.
Helping the children in need
Children who are growing up without parental support often face the most challenges. They can find a loving home with one of 15 SOS families in our Children's Village in Beira, where they can live with their brothers and sisters and are looked after by their SOS mother.
These children attend the SOS nursery with up to 100 other children from the local community. Not only does this kick-start their education, but it also gives them the chance to build strong relationships outside of the Children's Village.
Will you support our newest Children's Village in Mozambique? When you sponsor a child, you make sure they receive a loving family home and all they need to flourish.