SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Burundi).

Cibitoke is located in the north-west of Burundi and was hit the hardest by the violent civil war. The region was marked by large numbers of victims, streams of refugees and internally displaced people, most of whom are extremely poor to this day. The situation of children and young people in the region is particularly tough: less than 70% of all children live with both of their parents and almost 10% of children have lost parental care entirely. This leaves children vulnerable to poverty and often without access to health and educational services.

Since 2009, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cibitoke.

Of children in Burundi go to school


In light of ongoing political tensions and extreme poverty, many children in the region of Cibitoke live without any parental care. They are largely left to fend for themselves and therefore, they often cannot go to school. Even in cases where their parents are still around, the difficult economic situation often requires the children to contribute to the family income. This also discourages children from pursuing education and reduces their future prospects. Only about 13% of the children in the region go to school.

8 in 10
People are poor in Burundi

Widespread poverty

The civil war and political conflict were particularly intense in the Cibitoke region. This has led to the disintegration of important infrastructure such as schools and health centres and widespread internal displacement. There are still over 100 settlements in the region and people generally do not own the land they have been relocated to. They are often affected by extreme poverty - the poverty rate in Burundi is around 80%. This in turn leads to other problems, such as malnutrition, especially in the face of fluctuating food prices.

Your support makes a difference for children in Cibitoke

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical treatments
Were possible
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Going to school together. They grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Burundi).

How your support helps in Cibitoke

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Providing medical care
In areas with limited health services, SOS Children’s Villages provides medical advice and assistance. We offer preventative measures such as medical check-ups and vaccination programmes. Most of the patients who approach us for medical help come from local families, who could otherwise not afford to receive treatment.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.