arusha kids runningIn spite of its booming tourism industry and the success of its other industries, many of Arusha’s residents live in a state of poverty. The development of infrastructure has not kept pace with rapid population growth.

This has left many families living in slums and facing serious threats to their health and wellbeing. SOS Children is working to support those living in poverty and hardship in Arusha, particularly its children.

Children growing up in precarious conditions

Arusha, with its population of more than one million inhabitants, is a city located in northern Tanzania, close to the border with Kenya. It sits among some of Africa’s most famous attractions, including Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley. It is considered a major international diplomatic hub as well as being the region’s financial and cultural centre.

In spite of Arusha’s prosperity, many of its inhabitants are living in poverty and daily hardship. Children are society’s most vulnerable group, and often take to the streets in order to survive. Older children, aged 15 to 18 years, travel from rural areas in search of employment opportunities to support their families at home.

The city’s infrastructure has not kept up with rapid population growth and living conditions have worsened. The number of families living in slums continues to increase, and overcrowding and a lack of sanitation are a serious threat to the wellbeing of these people.

Strengthening the community for long-term development

SOS Children started work with the children and families of Arusha in 2000. The SOS family strengthening programme is a key focus, and provides parents and children with the resources they need to create a stable family environment, in order to keep the family unit together.

The SOS Social Centre helps to alleviate the hardship faced by many in their daily lives by providing essential social services to around 1,400 children and their carers.

Children at play at the Day Care Centre at the SOS Social Centre Arusha Tanzania

An SOS day care provides education, and three meals a day, allowing their parents to work or search for employment knowing their children are in a safe and happy environment. Basic education is provided for children who have never attended school, and the social centre helps keep other children at school by assisting parents with school fees and paying for school uniforms. The SOS Social Centre also provides food packages to struggling families.

Helping families to be healthy

SOS Children works closely with local organisations in Arusha to help parents and carers to improve their situation, gain skills and confidence, and ultimately provide for their families. The SOS Social Centre offers vocational training courses and training to help improve parenting skills, including child health and development, child rights, nutrition and hygiene. SOS Children also helps parents and adult carers by giving micro-credits to enable them to start small businesses of their own.

SOS Children’s Villages has an established medical centre in Arusha, offering healthcare to the local community, voluntary HIV testing and counselling, and free treatment and medication to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The centre is also focused on maternal health and provides gynaecology, counselling and vaccinations to teenage and child mothers in particular. 

Children at the SOS Primary School Arusha Tanzania

Our Children's Village in Arusha

Fifteen SOS families provide stable homes for up to 150 children who are no longer able to live with their parents. SOS children grow up alongside their SOS brothers and sisters, under the care of an affectionate SOS Mother.

Our younger children attend the SOS Nursery School with children from the local area, allowing them to make friendships and integrate with their community from an early age. SOS children complete their primary and secondary education with their peers at SOS schools. Around 500 students attend Arusha’s SOS schools.

When our older children feel ready to move out of the family home, they have the option of moving into shared, semi-independent accommodation. Here, they are supported by the SOS Youth Programme, and assisted by a qualified counsellor as they continue they education or vocational training.

When you sponsor a child in Arusha, you will ensure they grow up in a loving family home in our Children's Village. Will you give a vulnerable child hope for the future?


Did you know? SOS Children has been working since 1949, providing charity care for children and families.