Somalia - Africa
Somalia is one of the most unstable and dangerous countries in the world. When the majority of international relief organisations left Somalia, SOS Children’s Villages remained in the country to help the most vulnerable members of Somali society.
Somalia’s extreme violence in recent years has led to millions of civilians being displaced; as of December 2014, there were 1.1million people had been forced to flee from their homes.
Around 85% of the population of Somalia live in poverty and life expectancy is only 50 years. Most Somalians have no consistent access to clean water, food and sanitation. The threat of significant food shortages in 2015 is very real, with international aid agencies warning of further suffering to come. HIV is a major health problem, as are other diseases including cholera and hepatitis. However, healthcare has been improving and an effort to eradicate polio is succeeding. Over a third of the population of Somalia have never attended school.
Children in Somalia
Somalia is, demographically speaking, a very young nation, with the median age being 17.8 years. High levels of crime deeply affect Somalia’s youngest segment of population. Over recent years there has been a drastic rise in the number of child casualties and injuries suffered by minors due to the ongoing civil war. Many are recruited as child soldiers. Children in Somalia are exposed to incredibly high levels of violence in their daily lives. It is not uncommon for them to be confronted with dead bodies in the streets of Mogadishu. The psychological effects that such images may have on the mental development of a child are evident.
Schooling is available only to a very limited number of children in Somalia. In fact, Somalia is one of the countries with the lowest school enrolment rates in the entire world. A Somali child aged seven to 12 has only about a one in five chance of attending school. On average, children only attend school for 1.8 years. Since the collapse of the country’s last central government in 1991, the education infrastructure has been largely destroyed or abandoned.
At 105 deaths per 1,000 live births, Somalia is affected by one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates. Owing to a virtually non-existent health infrastructure and extraordinary high levels of violence, chances for a Somali child to survive into adulthood are among the lowest in the world. Undernourishment, lack of potable water, no sanitation infrastructure and life-threatening diseases are only some of the hardships that most Somali children have to put up with.
Our work in Somalia
The activities of SOS Children’s Villages in Somalia started off in 1983 when an agreement was signed with the former Somali government. Our work in Somalia has been extremely challenging due to the security situation in the country. During the worst episodes of fighting, we ensured that the children were safe by moving them to other places in Mogadishu. In 2011-2012 we ran an emergency programme with supported around 177,000 people affected by famine and drought.
We currently support the population by strengthening families so that they can stay together, and providing loving homes in SOS families for children who have lost parental care. Older children join the youth programme. In addition we run a nursery and primary and secondary school in Mogadishu. The SOS Community Nursing School has been training nurses and midwives since 2002. We also provide medical care in both Mogadishu and Baidoa, especially to local mothers and children.
We opened our Children's Village in Mogadishu in 1985. We provide care for over 100 children in loving SOS families.
Family Strenghtening Programmes
An SOS vocational training centre and workshop provide learning opportunities and nationally recognised qualifications for young people preparing for the world of work. As they complete secondary education, teenagers move on to the SOS youth home, where our specially trained staff help them learn adjust to the responsibilities of adult life. Also at the Village is an SOS mother and child clinic, which offers care to the whole community. At the clinic, we offer care to 30,000 patients a year – around 14 babies are born here every day!
Emergency Relief Work
For many years SOS Children’s Villages was one of very few international relief organisations that was active in the south of the country relieving the impacts of the war. SOS has worked with UN agencies, international NGOs, local authorities and community elders and leaders to make our impact as wide as possible.
SOS Somalia National Office
Buruburu phase 1
Tel: +254 72 8888 132, +254 77 1785 244
Fax: +254 20 789744