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

Kayonza is located in Rwanda's Eastern Province, about 80km from the capital Kigali. The province lies near the border with Tanzania and is home to over two million people, with the city of Rwamagana as the provincial capital. In this area, the vast majority of people are live off agriculture. However, the harsh climate conditions and reliance on traditional farming methods means that people are vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. This is a big problem, as many children do not develop properly due to widespread undernourishment. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS remains a challenge and many children are left without parental care due to the epidemic. They often drop out of school in order to make a living.

Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kayonza.

Of people are farmers and vulnerable to harsh climate

Risk of poverty and food insecurity

Over 90% of the population in the region is involved in agriculture. However, the changing climate conditions and reliance on traditional farming methods and products means that they are very vulnerable. Crop failures put people’s livelihoods at risk and resulting in food shortages. Despite measures being taken towards resiliance, such as tree planting and terracing or planting of drought resistant crops, production is not always enough. Many families struggle to feed their children. In many cases the lack of food, combined with the limited supply of wood for cooking leads to a lack of nutrition and often in malnutrition. This is especially dangerous for children, as this affects their physical and behavioral development.

Of people in Rwanda live with HIV/AIDS

Child-headed families are common

Kayonza has high maternal and infant mortality rates, as adequate health care is not readily accessible. In addition, almost 3% of the population is estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Many children are directly affected by the virus, for others this means being without parental care. Indeed, child-headed households are common in the area. Children are often forced to work to support their families - for example, in the illegal mining of cassiterite in the region, children are often employed in very dangerous conditions. More generally, the need to work to earn a living means that many children drop out of school early. As a result, their chances of escaping the circle of poverty remain low.

Your support makes a difference for children in Kayonza

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
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Children having fun together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda).

How your support helps in Kayonza

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 training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own 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.