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

Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda and has over one million inhabitants. The city is located in the centre of Rwanda and has grown rapidly in recent years due to rural-urban migration. Life in the city's informal settlements is extremely difficult: water supply, sanitation, electricity as well as waste collection and sewage systems are non-existent. In addition, more than half of Kigali's population is under 15 years old. This means there are many dependent children and young people in Kigali who face the harsh living conditions of the city. As in other parts of Rwanda, HIV/AIDS remains a major public health problem.

Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kigali.

Of people don’t have access to safe drinking water

Poverty and lack of infrastructure

The situation in Rwanda has improved steadily over the years. However, many challenges remain, which are clearly visible in the country's capital. With the growth of Kigali, many informal settlements have formed in the city. In these settlements, living conditions are usually extremely poor. Adequate housing is not available, nor is clean drinking water or sanitation facilities such as toilets. In fact, 57% of Rwandans have no access to clean drinking water. This is particularly dangerous for children, as they can easily contract waterborne diseases. Many families living in poverty cannot afford to provide their children with sufficient nutritious food, and many children have problems with physical and behavioural development.

Rwandan children live with HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS and early pregnancies

In Kigali, an estimated 10,000 children live on the streets. In many cases, they have lost their parents, often due to HIV/AIDS, and their relatives are unable to care for them. Left to fend for themselves, these children are exposed to innumerable dangers. For example, young girls and boys are often exposed to forced labour and forced commercial sexual exploitation. The latter puts them at risk of contracting HIV, which severely affects the children's lives, especially since medical treatment is not guaranteed. Currently, an estimated 14,000 children in the country are living with the virus. Others become pregnant at a young age. This, in turn, can cause them to drop out of education and have fewer opportunities later in life.

Your support makes a difference for children in Kigali

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 adults
Received medical support
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Siblings having fun playing a board game together. They grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda).

How your support helps in Kigali

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.
Providing medical care
In areas with limited health services, SOS Children’s Villages provides medical advice and assistance. We offer preventative measures such as medical check-ups and vaccination programmes. Most of the patients who approach us for medical help come from local families, who could otherwise not afford to receive treatment.
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.