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

Rustenburg is the capital of South Africa’s North West Province and has a population of approximately 550,000. The city is home to one of the world’s largest platinum mining industries, which provides jobs for around half of the local population. The city is growing as many people move here in hope of finding employment and a better life. However, many remain unemployed and end up living in informal settlements, where basic services are lacking and living conditions are very poor. Furthermore, crime rates are high, creating a very dangerous environment for children. Like in other parts of South Africa, HIV/AIDS leaves many children without parental care in Rustenburg.

Since 2006, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Rustenburg.

Housing units are lacking in Rustenburg

Living conditions are very poor

Due to its industry, Rustenburg has been expanding rapidly in recent years and is now South Africa’s fastest growing city. However, the steady influx of people has put increasing strain on services and infrastructure. Although the local municipality has put in place a development plan to respond to the needs of the population, it has been difficult to keep up with demand. In fact, there is need for an additional 90,000 housing units. Thousands of people live in informal settlements, on illegal land. Basic services like sanitation or electricity are often lacking. It is very difficult for people moving to Rustenburg to find formal work and they struggle to provide for their children.

1 in 5
South Africans live with HIV/AIDS

Crime and disease put children at risk

The rapid population growth also led to an increase in crime, which is why Rustenburg was nicknamed the "Crime Capital of the Northwest". In addition, HIV/AIDS is a serious challenge in Rustenburg. Miners in general are an at-risk group, as there is an increased risk of spreading diseases in mining areas where large numbers of workers go in and out. As a result, there are many children who have lost, or are at risk of losing, the care of one or both parents because their parents are ill. In many cases, these children drop out of school to take care of their sick parents or to earn their own living. Taking on so much responsibility at too young an age can have serious emotional and social consequences.

Your support makes a difference for children in Rustenburg

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
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children in our care having fun playing together. Siblings grow up together in families, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages South Africa).

How your support helps in Rustenburg

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.
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.