Sponsor a child in Somaliland
Overview of Somaliland
Somaliland is an autonomous region in the north-west of Somalia. It has been declared a sovereign state by its government, although this is not internationally recognised.
Years ago Somaliland was a British protectorate ("British Somaliland"). In 1960, Italian Somaliland with its capital Mogadishu merged with British Somaliland to form independent Somalia. Rule from Mogadishu was unpopular and a decade of war which destroyed much of the infrastructure ended in 1991. "The Republic of Somaliland", which was the former British area in the North, split off and declared its independence.
Whilst the situation is improving in modern Somaliland, poverty is still an issue. Frequent famine, droughts and poor soil are problems in a region where agriculture is important to the economy and people's livelihoods.
As a result of the problems Somaliland has faced, women and children suffer most. It is estimated that only 20% of children are in education, leading to a low literacy rate, and many in Somaliland are malnourished from famine and droughts. Like in most of Africa, HIV/Aids is an issue.
Our Work in Somaliland
In 1999 we signed an agreement with the president of Somaliland, Mohammed Egal, to start working in Somaliland. Our first work in the region was to renovate a secondary school in Sheikh, a small town 90 km south of the port of Berbera. Well renowned, the school had fallen into disrepair since its construction in 1950. Now, the SOS Secondary School in Sheikh serves as a model school again and has been offering education for 240 youths, both day and resident students, from all parts of the country.
In Sept 2002 a rather special British couple, Richard and Enid Eyeington, took on the challenge of running the SOS School, moving to Somaliland after working as teachers in Swaziland for more than 30 years (Richard was head teacher of the Waterford School when Nelson Mandela sent his children). A year later in October 2003 they were shot dead by gunmen, reminding us that our colleagues abroad sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice to help children whose position is desperate.
The Eyeingtons would not have wanted us to withdraw and we have slowly expanded in Somaliland. We opened our first SOS Children's Village in the capital city Hargeisa in June 2008. Along with the SOS Children's Village, we also opened an SOS Nursery, an SOS Social Centre (Family Strengthening Programme) and an SOS Medical Centre.
The Family Strengthening Programme enables children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow within a caring family environment. To achieve this, SOS Children’s Villages works directly with families and communities to empower them to effectively protect and care for their children, in cooperation with local authorities and other service providers.
In Berbera, a new SOS Medical Centre started to operate in 2008.
SOS Children's Villages Somaliland
Buruburu phase 1
Postal address: P.O. Box 76192
Tel: +250 20 7782 423, +254 20 7782 104, +254 20 7782 409
Fax: +254 20 7789 744