SOS Children in Nigeria
We have been helping children in Nigeria since the 1970s. Despite Nigeria being oil-rich, hundreds of thousands live in crippling poverty. Crime and HIV/AIDS are on the increase. We help vulnerable children to stay with their families, and where necessary give them a loving home in one of our SOS Children’s Villages.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Nigeria by sponsoring a child:
In Nigeria, poverty and HIV/AIDS impact the lives of millions
Around 63% of Nigeria’s population live in abject poverty. Many thousands live in shacks without the basics like clean water and sanitation, needed to provide stability. An increase in crime and violence in some areas has made life increasingly dangerous for the people of Nigeria
HIV/AIDS has a terrible impact on the people of Nigeria. Approximately 3.3 million are living with the disease and over 200,000 die every year.
Children in Nigeria
- In Nigeria, around 15 million children are engaged in child labour, many in very dangerous conditions. Some children work in hazardous industries, where they are potentially exposed to toxic fumes and dangerous machinery.
- About 360,000 children live with HIV/AIDS. The disease is a major cause of the increasing poverty in the country. Children with the disease, or who live with people with the disease, face issues such as losing their parents, neglect and social discrimination.
- The child mortality rate stands at 138 per 1,000 live births. Around 30% of children under the age of five are underweight.
Our charity work in Nigeria
Our first Village in Nigeria was established in Isolo, a suburb of Lagos, in 1973. The houses are built in traditional style with large roofed-over verandas, which provide sheltered play areas for the children during the rainy season. The children receive their education at the SOS Nursery and SOS Primary School in the Village. Four SOS Youth Houses accommodate older children learning skills and trades at the SOS Vocational Training Centre.
With the need for a second Village in Nigeria, we opened the second SOS Children's Village Owu-Ijebu in 1996. Built approximately 145 km east of Lagos on a 250 acre site donated by the government, the Village has 12 family houses and an SOS Nursery and SOS Primary School. A small clinic provides medical care for the local community as well as classes in nutrition and hygiene for local women. A proportion of the large site has been used to set up a small farming project where cassava, yam, plantains and corn are grown to provide food for the SOS Children's Village. Any surplus crops are sold locally, supplementing the families’ income. In 2003, a community support project also opened in the centre of Lagos. It provides a variety of social programmes including medical treatment, childcare, skills training for women and assistance and support for people affected by HIV/AIDS. This project currently helps 15,000 people a year.
A third SOS Children's Village opened in 2007 at Gwagwalada, near Abuja in the centre of Nigeria. Located in an area greatly affected by poverty, we built 12 family houses for 120 homeless and disadvantaged children. Since the educational facilities surrounding the Village are poor, we decided to build an SOS Primary School. The school provides 210 children from the SOS Children's Village and the local community with an education. It includes six classrooms and a sports area for the children to play. The Village also includes an SOS Social Centre which as well as providing primary health care and community outreach programmes, runs Family Strengthening Programmes to help to keep disadvantaged families together. The centre here benefits approximately 900 people each year.
A fourth SOS Children's Village opened in 2011 in Jos, the administrative capital of Plateau State in the middle belt of Nigeria. The village has 12 family houses, providing a new home for up to 120 children. The village also has a nursery and a primary school. An SOS Social Centre has been set up to run Family Strengthening Programmes and provide support to people affected by HIV/AIDS in the vicinity of the village.
Alongside these projects, we also run family strengthening programmes in Ejigbo, Ibadan and Kaduna, which together offer help to over 2,500 people.
Life in SOS Children's Village Nigeria: Habiba’s Story
Habiba* is 22 years old. She is from Zamfara state in the northern part of Nigeria, and she lives in Agege, an area of Lagos. She is the oldest of a family of seven, including three boys and four girls. Habiba was in senior secondary school when her mother died in 2002. As she had lost her father in 1999, she had no choice but to drop out of school and start caring for her brothers and sisters.
"It was very difficult for us when our mother died. I was only 15 and I had to take care of six small brothers and sisters. I had to buy their daily food, pay their school fees and school stationeries as well as medicines when one of them was ill. I was the head of the family. It was really difficult because I didn't have a fixed monthly income. I had neither the authorized age to work, nor the required qualification enabling me to apply for a job. I started selling kerosene and oranges so that we could survive. Domestic works such as fetching water, cooking and cleaning were shared among my brothers and sisters."
"Finding money for our daily needs led me sometimes to beg because what I was gaining from my commerce was very insignificant. The proceeds from my sale were not sufficient to cater to the needs of the family. My brothers and sisters could no longer go to school. One of my small sisters was prematurely given into marriage by our father’s relations according to our traditions".
In 2005, Habiba was referred to Family Strengthening Programme by the Co-ordination of Foundation Aids Alliance. Each month, Habiba receives a ration of food, "which relieves us enormously and allows us to eat regularly and well", she said. "We also receive clothes, and we benefit from medical care", she added.
Habiba is currently an apprentice fashion designer under the sponsorship of the Family Strengthening Programme. Two of her siblings were able to go back to school, and the family were given better accommodation at the beginning of the school year. Habiba’s business is growing and one of her friends takes care of it when she needs to study.
"SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria, through the 'Family Strengthening Programme' has made a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of my brothers and sisters. Today, I don't worry any more about our life because there are people who are interested in our social situation and our future. The only thing we have to do now is to seize this great opportunity that has been offered to us, in order to guarantee our success in real life", she said.
* For privacy reasons, we have changed her name.
SOS Children's Villages Nigeria
P.O.Box 660 Shomolu
Tel: +234/1/737 8446, +234/1/892 9519