Bahir Dar

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

Bahir Dar is the capital city of the Amhara Region, in north-western Ethiopia. Around 332,000 people live in Bahir Dar at present, and it is one of the biggest and fastest growing cities. Most families live off agriculture, but the changing climate means that they do not have a stable source of food or income. Although the situation is improving due to governmental support, poverty and malnutrition affects thousands of children in the area. The Amhara regional authorities have identified 11.6 million people in need of relief assistance.

Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bahir Dar.

Children in Amhara region are too short for their age

Children do not get food they need

All across Ethiopia, poor nutrition is a major threat to the survival and development of children and young people. This situation is particularly worrying in the Amhara region, were Bahir Dar is located. Due to malnutrition, 41% of children under the age of 5 are too short for their age and 27% are underweight. While the under-5 mortality rate is improving, the region has one of the highest rates in the country. Illnesses caused by poor nutrition and lack of sanitation facilities, and a lack of access to health services, can have grave long-term effects for children.

Of girls in the region marry before the age of 18

Child marriages

In spite of some governmental programmes to raise awareness around child marriages, they continue to be widespread in the Amhara region, where Bahir Dar is situated. Although the legal age for marriage in Ethiopia is 18 years, around 43% of girls in the Amhara region, are married before they are 18 years old. In fact, the average age of marriage is 14,7 years in the region, and this is lower in rural areas of the area. These marriages are arranged by the family for economic and social reasons - in the Amhara region, 95% of married girls were in arranged marriages. After they are married, the majority of girls drop out of school.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bahir Dar

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.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
After school, children often spend time together and help each other with their school work (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia).

How your support helps in Bahir Dar

Strengthening 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.
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.