Burundi - Africa

Around 84% of people in Burundi are poor, making it one of Africa’s poorest nations. Years of civil war have undoubtedly contributed, as hundreds of thousands of people died and over a million left internally displaced. In rural areas, people are facing particular hardship. Droughts and other disasters lead to frequent food shortages. Around 50% of Burundi’s population cannot read and write, owing to the country’s poor education system. Around 180,000 people live with HIV/AIDS. Deaths from diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and hepatitis A are on the rise. Burundi has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, as the average Burundian woman gives birth to six children.

Map of Burudi

Children in Burundi

In Burundi, around 610,000 children are orphans. Alongside those orphaned by AIDS, more have been orphaned because of the economic situation, as families struggle to get by. Street children roam the streets of Burundi with many resorting to begging to survive. About a quarter of children are involved in labour activities.

During the civil war, thousands of children were recruited as child soldiers by armed rebels. Young girls were also abducted into slavery. Psychological scars still stay with many who survived.

35% of Burundian children are undernourished and around 90,000 children live with HIV/AIDS, as the disease is passed on by mothers during pregnancy.

Our Work in Burundi

In 1979, SOS Children’s Village initiated its first programme on Burundian soil. Since attending school was not obligatory in Burundi, we took the decision to support the future of the country’s children by building appropriate education facilities.

At present, we are supporting Burundian children in five different locations by providing day care, education, vocational training and medical assistance. The organisation aims to strengthen families in order to enable children who are at risk of losing parental care to grow up within their own family. Children who cannot be taken care of by their own family can find a loving home in one of the SOS families.


Our first Village was built in Gitega in 1977, the country's third largest town. The Villages has 13 family houses and three youth houses where teenagers can take their first guided steps towards independent lives. We also run a medical centre which treats more than 12,000 members of the community per year.


In 1985, we opened a Village in Bujumbura, at the north-eastern end of Lake Tanganyika. It has 12 family houses and 11 youth houses, altogether home to over 260 children and young people. The SOS primary and secondary schools are attended by over 1,000 pupils, making it a valuable educational institution in the region.


Following the outbreak of civil war in 1993, SOS Children's Villages launched an emergency aid programme in Muyinga Province, building a temporary home for children orphaned in the conflict. This emergency project was transformed in 1998 into a permanent SOS Children's Village. The Village has 15 SOS houses and five SOS Youth Homes. Education is provided at the SOS nursery and SOS school attended by over 520 pupils, making them valuable educational institutions in the region.


The fourth Village opened in 2005 in Rutana in the central southern region of the country. There are 14 SOS homes for 140 children. In addition there is a nursery for 75 childrenand a primary school for 210 children both also open to children from the local community.


Opened in 2009, SOS Children's Village Cibitoke provides a home for up to 120 children in 12 family houses. An SOS Nursery and SOS School educate about 300 children and an SOS Medical Centre can provide medical care to up to 12,000 people per year.

Local Contact

SOS Villages d’Enfants Burundi   

BP 2003

Tel:  +257/22 220887 +257/22 223622

Fax: +257/22 211060

E-mail: info@sosburundi.org

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You can help children who have lost their parents. They may have been orphaned by AIDS, natural disaster or conflict. Poverty may have forced their parents to give them up, or they may have been separated from their family by war.