Rwanda - Africa

The tragic events of the genocide in 1994 still have an effect on the people of Rwanda. In a small country with a small population, almost everyone was affected in some way by the loss of life; up to 80% of Rwandans who survived the genocide lost close family members. Psychological scars remain for many who witnessed the violence.

HIV/AIDS is also a major concern in Rwanda. The prevalence rate in the country is 2.9%, though in recent years an increase in provisions of anti-retroviral treatment has had success. In Rwanda, around 80% of the population live in poverty, and 40% of Rwandans are chronically undernourished.

Children in Rwanda

690,000 children in Rwanda are growing up without parental care and 130,000 have been left without parents due to HIV/AIDS.

Whilst exact figures are unknown, a number of Rwandan children have been recruited as child soldiers to fight in Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the capital of Kigali, many children roam the streets.

Due to causes like malaria, diarrhoea or pneumonia, around one in 10 Rwandan children dies before their fifth birthday.

Our work in Rwanda

Our work in Rwanda began in 1978 in Kigali. In 198, SOS Children initiated its work with the young adults who had outgrown the SOS Children’s Village in order to help them on their way to a life on their own.

After the terrible events that took place in 1994, our organisation’s main emphasis lay in the therapeutic rehabilitation of thousands of traumatised children and in repatriating families.


We began our work in Rwanda in 1978, building our first SOS Children’s Village near the capital of Kigali. For children from the region who are no longer able to live with their parents, 15 SOS families provide a loving home for up to 150 children. In each family, the children live with their SOS brothers and sisters, affectionately cared for by their SOS mother.


We built Rwanda's second SOS Children’s Village in 1992 in Gikongoro, in the south of the country, about 100 miles from Kigali. SOS Children's Village Gikongoro has 12 family houses.


An SOS Children's Village was established in 1997 in nearby Byumba, nearly 40 miles north of Kigali. The charity's Byumba Village has 15 family houses provide a loving home for up to 150 children. In each family, the children live with their SOS brothers and sisters, affectionately cared for by their SOS mother..



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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.