The semi-independent archipelago of Zanzibar is part of Tanzania and is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. SOS Children began work in Zanzibar in 2005, to advocate for vulnerable children and their families.
The SOS family strengthening programme supports families living in poverty and those affected by HIV/AIDS, creating a stable environment for families, allowing them to stay together.
Gender inequality and health issues jeopardise futures
Zanzibar has a population of close to one million residents living on its numerous small islands. Its primary industry is tourism, followed by the export of seaweed, raffia and spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves.
Gender inequality has been a social concern in the past, and improvements are now being made to achieve a balance. Primary school enrolment rates are the same for boys and girls, but by the time children reach secondary school, enrolment rates for boys are much higher.
In 2005, Zanzibar repealed a law that mandated prison terms for unmarried, pregnant women. In spite of this step forward, forced and early marriages are commonplace, and sexual and domestic violence, as well as violence against children, are a serious challenge.
The Zanzibar government has addressed a number of important health issues, and the prevalence of malaria has now been reduced to almost 1%. There is still work to be done, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS, which affects a significant proportion of the population.
Strengthening families and the community
SOS Children began work in Zanzibar in 1995, assisting vulnerable children and their families. Today, the family-strengthening programme is an important focus and works to alleviate hardship by providing social services to families in order to keep them together.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programme is currently making a difference in the lives of up to 600 children and 150 adult carers. The centre provides food packages to families who are struggling, particularly households affected by HIV/AIDS, or those headed by orphaned children caring for their younger siblings.
School fees and health care
SOS Children works to keep children at school by paying school fees, providing school uniforms and helping with homework where needed. The organisation also provides basic education to children who have never been able to attend school.
We work closely with local partner organisations to help parents improve their situation by offering vocational training and micro-credits, allowing them to start their own businesses. Parents also have the opportunity to receive training in child health and development, child rights, nutrition and hygiene.
SOS Children operates a medical centre in Zanzibar, providing health care, voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counselling and free treatment and medication to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The medical centre also focuses on maternal health, providing vaccinations, gynaecological examinations and counselling, particularly to child and teenage mothers.
A home for children with noone else
SOS families offer safe and stable homes to over 100 children in Zanzibar who are no longer able to live with their parents. The children grow up being cared for by an SOS Mother, along with their SOS brothers and sisters.
Children attend the SOS Nursery along with children from families living in the local area, allowing them to form friendships with local children. The SOS Primary and Secondary Schools provide further education to approximately nearly 900 students.
When our older children are choose to move out of the family home, they are supported by the SOS Youth Programme in semi-independent, shared accommodation. Qualified counsellors provide guidance as they complete their education or vocational training and make the transition to young adulthood.
On the beautiful islands of Zanzibar, children with noone else are being given a loving home in our Children's Village. Here they groe up with a caring family and all they need to flourish. This is only possible when people like you become child sponsors.