More than 530,000 people live in the busy port city of Beira in central Mozambique. The city is an important trading centre for neighbouring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi, with the main exports being food and cotton.
In the region, more than 1 in 10 children under 12 have lost one or both of their parents. Even for children who have a family, living conditions in the city are poor, and it is a challenge for families to meet their children’s basic needs.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Beira.
Ongoing food shortages in Mozambique mean that many families cannot afford to buy good, nutritious food.
The region around Beira has one of the highest rates of childhood malnutrition in Mozambique: almost half of the children are either underweight or stunted in their development.
These children are more likely to be ill, and less likely to regularly attend school. When they do attend school, they often arrive hungry, and so they struggle to concentrate and perform well in their learning.
In the region around Beira, 74% of children do not have access to proper sanitation facilities.
This means that most children use latrines or makeshift toilets where there is no separation between the child and the waste. Additionally, 1 in 4 children do not have access to safe drinking water.
These conditions lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as diarrheal disease, which is one of the main causes of infant death.