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

Mzuzu is located in the northern region of Malawi and has about 220,000 inhabitants. However, about 1.7 million more people live in the rural outskirts, and this number continues to grow. The surrounding region is predominantly agricultural, with tea, rubber and coffee plantations. In the city itself, there is a substantial timber and manufacturing industry, as well as a large informal sector. Poverty is a reality for many families in the region. They often struggle to feed their children and have limited access to sanitation, education and health care.

Since 2002, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mzuzu.

1 in 10
People live with HIV/AIDS in Malawi

Preventable diseases

As in other parts of Malawi, the majority of people in and around the city of Mzuzu live in poverty. This is often linked to problems such as malnutrition and a lack of access to health care services and clean drinking water. Many children have weakened immune systems due to malnutrition. Furthermore, they develop diarrhoea and abdominal pain when drinking unclean water from local wells. In rural areas, children often have to walk long distances to school. If their health is poor, they are unable to do so and therefore often remain without schooling. HIV/AIDS is also a problem, as 1 in 10 people are infected with the virus, against which many cannot protect themselves properly.

Of people in Mzuzu live in informal settlements

Poor standard of living

Mzuzu is one of the fastest-growing cities in Malawi. The difficult living conditions in the countryside drive many families to try their luck in the city.However, in Mzuzu, adequate infrastructure such as running water and sewerage, and social services such as schools and hospitals, are also lacking. The city cannot sustain the influx of people, and up to 60% of the local population are estimated to live in informal settlements. These people do not have proper housing, access to running water or healthcare. Many people, including children, tend to be employed in the informal sector. Hence, school attendance is low.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mzuzu

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 school
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Brothers in our care spending time outdoors together. Siblings grow up together, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Malawi).

How your support helps in Mzuzu

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..
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.