With about 60,000 inhabitants, Serowe is one of the largest village settlements in the central region of Botswana. Due to its location in a well-watered part of the country, most people in the area live from agriculture.
Despite the relatively stable economic conditions, Serowe, similar to other parts of the country, is affected by HIV/AIDS. Due to this disease, children are often at risk of losing parental care and are therefore particularly vulnerable.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Serowe.
In Serowe, the extended family plays an important role for the children in case of the loss of their parents.
This is also evident in the case of HIV/AIDS. Although the situation of many of those affected is improving, more than 20% of adults in Botswana are still living with HIV. For many extended families, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide food and schooling for the children they additionally care for. As a result, many children growing up in extended families work to contribute to the family income instead - making it difficult for them to break out of the cycle of poverty.
Despite its economic growth, Botswana is one of the most unequal countries in the world. Child poverty is also widespread. According to official statistics, more than 4 in 10 people living in poverty are children under the age of 14. Combined with the widespread lack of parental care, this makes children and young people particularly vulnerable. In Serowe, many cannot afford enough food, shelter or an education.