Women in Benin are fighting back against crippling poverty - and shaping their own futures.
Benin – March 8 2019

Against the Odds: Beninese women stand tall

Friday, 8 March International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

Women in Benin are fighting back against crippling poverty - and shaping their own futures.

Poverty is widespread in the small West African nation and women and girls are hit hardest – with many being forced from school years earlier than boys and into work or marriage while they are still children. 1 in 4 Beninese women were child-brides and almost three quarters of women are illiterate.

Without education, the vicious circle of poverty cannot be broken. And when they lose their husbands – which is all too common in a country beset by health concerns such as typhoid and malaria and with limited access to clean water and healthcare – women can struggle to find decent employment to support themselves and their children.

But Beninese women taking part in the SOS family strengthening programme are not letting that hold them back. With our support they are accessing education and vocational training, learning how to set up their own businesses and improving their family’s income.

They are also forming Women’s Rights Defence Committees and Child Protection Teams – to fight for their rights to safety and equality, and those of their children.

Watch our video to meet some of the incredible women participating in the SOS project in Benin.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting vulnerable children and families in Benin since 1985 to:

  • Offer vulnerable families income generation support, training, parenting support and counselling
  • Give children without parental care the chance of a supportive family-like upbringing
  • Run nurseries, primary and secondary schools to provide children with quality education
  • Tackle high rates of youth unemployment with vocational training and career support for young people
  • Raise awareness of, and advocate for, children’s rights