Bissau is the capital of Guinea-Bissau. It is home to around 400,000 people and is the economic centre of the country.It was founded by the Portuguese in 1687 and became an important slave-trading centre. In 1974, when Portugal recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau, Bissau became its capital. From 1998 to 1999, Bissau was affected by intense fighting during the Guinea-Bissau Civil War.
Since 1994, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families, and advocating for their rights in Bissau.
There are many reasons why children in Guinea-Bissau may not live with their parents. As a result of the high levels of mortality among adults, children have a higher chance of losing one or both parents as they grow up. This does not always mean that they lack care. Most children who do not live with their parents are looked after by their extended families.
However, growing up without any parental care poses significant risks for children. They often face the challenge of having to take care of, and earn money for, their entire family at a very early age.
There have been improvements in achieving literacy in Guinea-Bissau over the past years. Youth literacy rates show that significantly more young people know how to read and write than older generations. However, there is also a big gender gap and far less women know how to read than men.
Achieving and improving literacy skills is an important part of the right to education. It’s more than just being able to read and write: it can empower people and enable them to participate fully in society.