SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves ( photo:SOS Children’s Villages in Benin)

The Republic of Benin is located in West Africa and has a total population of almost 12 million. The capital city is Porto-Novo and the country’s official language is French - however, a number of indigenous languages are widely spoken. Economically, Benin is one of the continent’s largest producers of cotton and it strongly depends on regional trade, especially with neighbouring Nigeria. While there have been improvements in the country, many people here still live in poverty and without access to basic services. Certain diseases are also widespread. As a result, many children who grow up here are incredibly disadvantaged.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it in Benin since 1985.

Children are at risk

Demographically speaking, Benin is a very young nation: nearly 65% of the country’s population is younger than 25. Life for many Beninese children can be tough as their rights are violated every day. While some children are undernourished and do not live in proper houses, others have lost their parents due to AIDS or other illnesses, and are left to fend for themselves. These children are very unlikely to attend school. Poor access to basic services, food and education turns life for the children of Benin into an everyday challenge.
Of the population in Benin are poor

Widespread poverty

While Benin has seen steady economic growth over the past two decades, this has not benefitted everyone equally. 40% of the population are poor. Life becomes a daily struggle for those who find themselves on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Poverty in Benin is predominantly a rural phenomenon: the vast majority of people do not have access to sanitation facilities or drinking water. Often, children have to work in order to financially assist their families. Droppping out of school seriously diminishes their chances to lead a better life once they become adults.

3 in 10
People in Benin are able to read and write


Access to education has been improving in Benin. The vast majority of children enrolls in primary school. However, the quality of education remains quite poor, as only around 3 in 10 people in Benin know how to read and write. This number is even lower for women and girls. Many children do not complete primary education, let alone continue to secondary school. Parents cannot always afford to send their children to school. Without a proper education, children and young people struggle to escape the cycle of poverty.

Of children do not grow properly


Since the living conditions for many Beninese families are so dire, many children do not get enough nutritious food to develop healthily. Growing up in a poor family puts children at risk of undernourishment. In fact, in Benin, around 45% of children experience difficulties related to their physical and intellectual development, often due to undernourishment. This can have severe long-term effects for these children. Furthermore, out of 1,000 live births, 93 children never reach the age of five.

Together we can make a difference for children in Benin

Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical treatments
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
The children spend most of their time outside in the garden - playing and having fun together, they often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Benin)

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting. .
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives