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

Mbalmayo has over 60,000 inhabitants and is located in the Center Region, only 50 km outside the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. The region's economy is predominantly based on agriculture, especially the cultivation of cocoa. Almost 14% of the population in the region live in poverty – mainly people live in the rural areas outside Yaoundé. Basic infrastructure, such as access to clean drinking water, is generally poor. Children are therefore particularly at risk of contracting diseases. In addition, HIV/AIDS remains a major public health challenge. Many children lose parental care due to the virus and have to survive on their own.

Since 1998, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mbalmayo.

Of people lack access to safe drinking water

Basic infrastructure is poor

Many people in Cameroon’s Centre Region, including in Mbalmayo, live in rural areas around the city of Yaoundé. Most of them live off agriculture. Basic infrastructure here tends to be quite poor. For example, clean drinking water is often not available, especially outside urban areas. In fact, while the vast majority of the urban population have access to improved drinking water sources, only 48% of people in rural Cameroon have access. Families here are forced to drink unclean water from sources that are contaminated by agricultural waste. Water-borne illnesses are therefore very common. Children are most severely affected by these illnesses, especially those who are already malnourished.

Children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS remains a major challenge

The Centre Region of Cameroon has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the country. In recent years, various initiatives have been introduced to improve the situation. The focus has been on preventing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and to ensure that anti-viral medicines are better distributed. However, the virus remains a major challenge. In fact, as many as 330,000 children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Unless these children are taken in by relatives, they are left to fend for themselves and mostly live in poverty. They have to make a living instead of going to school.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mbalmayo

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
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Friends helping each other out with schoolwork. SOS Children's Villages aims to ensure that children and young people have access to quality education. We help them to learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Cameroon)

How your support helps in Mbalmayo

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.
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.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.