Dar es Salaam
In spite of Dar es Salaam’s relative prosperity, and its position as an economic and educational centre, many of its residents live in conditions of severe poverty.
The city’s population is expected to reach five million within a decade and infrastructure and services are unable to keep up with the rapid growth. Children living in poverty are particularly vulnerable.
A rapidly growing population
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city, with a population of approximately 4.4 million inhabitants living in the city and its surrounds. It is the country’s richest city and also an educational centre as well as being an important economic centre for the region.
In spite of its prosperity, including a construction boom in recent years, an estimated 70% of Dar es Salaam’s population lives in informal settlements. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, contaminated drinking water and a lack of access to basic facilities, including electricity and running water, are daily hardships for poorer people in the city. Dar es Salaam’s infrastructure and social services are strained due to rapid population increases.
Severe flooding is another serious concern for the city’s residents during the two annual rainy seasons. In 2011, thousands of homes and businesses were lost due to heavy rains and subsequent flooding and the slums were hit the hardest.
Children are affected most severely when families struggle to make ends meet
The strain on Dar es Salaam’s infrastructure is a serious challenge, and only 10% of the population is connected to the sewage system. Others use pit latrines, which are unsanitary and often overflow. The threat of waterborne disease is a daily risk faced by families living in slums, and is compounded by limited access to health care.
Children often find themselves caring for their younger siblings as head of the household when their parents are incapacitated by illness, or if children are orphaned. Children in this situation are particularly vulnerable and unable to pursue their education due to being a provider for the household. Access to social services is extremely limited for these children and many take to the streets to survive, leaving them open to exploitation and abuse.
Our work in Dar es Salaam
SOS Children established its presence in Dar es Salaam in 2007, supporting the city’s vulnerable children and their carers. The SOS family strengthening programme works to ease the poverty and daily hardship experienced by many families, to keep them together as a family unit.
Our SOS Social Centre in Dar es Salaam helps parents to meet the basic needs of their children by providing educational, nutritional and health services. Parents have the opportunity to improve their situation through learning about income-generating activities and parenting skills. Approximately 600 children and their carers are currently benefiting from the efforts of the social centre.
A new loving home
Thirteen SOS families provide a safe and loving home to up to 130 children who are no longer able to live with their parents. Children grow up in a family environment alongside their SOS brothers and sisters under the care of a dedicated SOS Mother.
They attend the SOS Nursery School with children from families living in the surrounding area, allowing them to establish friendships and integrate with their community from an early age.
Capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is home to children and families in need. Will you give a Tanzanian child hope for the future, and sponsor them today? Asante sana!