Ethiopia, Africa

Frequent droughts and famines, a long-lasting civil war and a border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea have had a serious effect on Ethiopia, leaving it as one of the poorest nations in the world.

As only 1 in 6 of Ethiopia’s population is actively contributing to the economy, most Ethiopians do not have a regular income to spend. Life expectancy is low, on average only 54 years and nearly two-thirds of Ethiopia’s population are illiterate. Almost half the country’s population is undernourished and 39% face a life on less than US $1.25 a day.  Poverty is particularly high for those living in rural areas. Access to healthcare is extremely limited: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia has only three doctors per 100,000 people.


Children in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a very young nation with around 45% of its population under the age of 14, which is partly due to the country’s low life expectancy. The infant mortality rate is at a shocking 109 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The HIV/AIDS crisis is affecting children in Ethiopia. Due to the disease, an estimated 830,000 children in Ethiopia have lost one or both of their parents. Large numbers of these children are street children, with nowhere to sleep. Many are involved in petty crime and beg on the streets.

Roughly 40% of all Ethiopian children under the age of five are chronically undernourished.

Our work in Ethiopia

Our charity provides long term support to hundreds of children through our work in Ethiopia.


The first SOS Children’s Village was constructed in Makalle when the region worst hit by the 1974 famine.


SOS Children’s Village Harrar opened in 1980. The region is frequently devastated by drought. Harrar has 15 family houses, and an SOS Nursery, Primary and Secondary School.

Addis Abeba

Our third community was built in Addis Abeba in 1981. It provides a new home for over 150 children and young people in its 15 family houses and three SOS Youth Homes.


We opened a Children's Village in Hawassa in 1985, with 15 family houses.

Bahir Dar

The Village has 12 family houses.


The completed village opened in August 2004 and has 12 family homes.


SOS Children's Village Jimma opened in 2012 and offers care to up to 150 children in 15 family houses.

Emergency Relief Programme

In 1985, drought and famine again hit Ethiopia. An artificial reservoir was constructed at Makalle to supply the SOS Children’s Village and the Farm, as well as the surrounding community. SOS Children’s Villages established a wide-reaching emergency relief programme feeding over 1,000 people a day and providing emergency accommodation in.
Another catastrophic drought in 2000 led to a further emergency relief programme, this time in Ogaden in the south-east, near the border with Somalia. An emergency relief centre was set up in Gode to provide food and basic medical treatment, while work began on a new SOS Children’s Village in Gode.

Local Contact

SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia

P.O.Box 3495
Addis Abeba

Tel: +251 11 6611501, +251 11 6611655

Fax: +251 11 6611633


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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.