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

Mbabane is Eswatini’s capital city and has a population of approximately 100,000. Tourism and the sugar industry form the basis of the local economy, and there are tin and iron mines nearby. However, the economy has declined and many people hardly get by. Urban development has been very much unplanned and the majority of people live in informal settlements with poor infrastructure. Without proper sanitation, children are often at risk of contracting water-borne diseases. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS is particularly widespread in the city. Many children lose their parents to the virus and have to make a living somehow instead of going to school.

Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mbabane.

Children are without care in Eswatini

HIV/AIDS in the capital

HIV/AIDS is a challenge all over Eswatini, but it severely affects the local population in Mbabane as the virus is particularly common in urban areas. As many as 120,000 children have lost the care of their parents, the majority due to HIV/AIDS. Often the oldest sibling is then left in charge of the family. Such child-headed households are in a particularly vulnerable position: they often face a lack of food and limited opportunities for income generation. Families affected by HIV/AIDS also face stigma, which can have a detrimental psychological impact on children in particular.

Of people do not have access to running water

Poor living conditions

Urban development in Mbabane has been very much unplanned from the beginning, with the majority of people living in informal settlements. Efforts to upgrade and integrate these areas have yielded some first results, but the informal settlements are also the areas that experience the highest population growth. This means that thousands of families continue to live in sub-standard housing without proper sanitation. In fact, around 42% of people do not have access to running water. This puts children at particular risk, as water and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death for children under five years of age.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mbabane

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 hanging out together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini).

How your support helps in Mbabane

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.