Located in the centre of Azerbaijan, around half the population live beneath the poverty line in Ganja.
While the government is working hard to turn the city's economy around, SOS Children has been supporting the city's most vulnerable since 2005.
A poor region
Ganja is Azerbaijan's second largest city, with over 300,000 inhabitants. About 340km west of the country's capital, Baku, the oil and mineral wealth of the country has not reached Ganja. As a result, Ganja province is one of the poorest regions in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani government is working hard to turn the city's economy around. It is investing in industry and agriculture in the area, but even so over 150,000 inhabitants live in poverty.
Families struggle in poor economy
The city is trying to attract more tourists to see its historical landmarks such as the Persian Nizami Mausoleum and the 11th Century Gates of Ganja, just outside the city. Tourism is a seasonal and fickle employer everywhere in the world, and this applies to Ganja too.
What work there is can be irregular and low paid. As a result many inhabitants are struggling to get by. While the government is working on the city's employment issues, charities such as SOS Children help families in need while the economy is in its current situation.
Children in need
Families in poverty cannot always look after their children effectively. They may not be able to feed them properly and the kids suffer from malnutrition which impacts in their long term development. In some instances families are forced to abandon their children because they cannot meet their children's needs.
SOS Children helps authorities keep families together in the first instance, but also cares for children should they be unable to live with their families.
How we help the community in Ganja
SOS Children helps families in Ganja stay together in a variety of ways. Based within range of all the city's major amenities - nurseries, schools, and health services - our base in the city is situated to help families get the basics they need to survive as a unit.
We provide counselling to help families get a better income, and ensure that children get the nutrition they need, as well as accessing health services as required. Working with the local government, we do our best to keep children in the families they were born into and not let them end up alone fending for themselves.
A new loving home
Where families are in crisis and need short-term intervention, SOS Mothers have been providing stop-gap support since 2011. For longer-term care we have capacity for over 100 children in our SOS Children's Village. These children go to local nurseries and schools and play a part in their communities.
We work closely with local schools and nurseries to improve the service they provide. We give teacher training where necessary to improve local schools for all children in Ganja, and for kids with extra educational needs.
Will you sponsor a child today, and help children in Ganja have a better life in the future?