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

Douala is the capital of Littoral Province and is located on the banks of the Wouri River, 30 km from the southern Atlantic coast of Cameroon. With around 3 million inhabitants, it is the largest city in Cameroon. It is also home to the largest port in Central Africa. Many people move here from rural Cameroon in the hope of finding work. However, many end up getting informal jobs. Many families end up living in slums in very poor conditions, and in many cases the children drop out of school and have to work to contribute to the family income. HIV/AIDS is also a problem here, leaving many children without parental care.

Since 2007, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families, and advocating for their rights Douala.

4 in 10
Urban households do not have proper sanitation

Many families live in poor conditions

As port city and an economic centre of Cameroon, many people move to Douala from rural areas. They are in search of work and a better life in the city. However, many families end up living in overcrowded slums. Basic infrastructure such as access to safe drinking water or sanitation tend to be very poor. In fact, 4 of 10 households do not have access to sanitation at all. In many parts of the city, drainage is not available. This also greatly increases the risk of infectious diseases such as malaria and typhoid. These can be particularly dangerous for children. The HIV/AIDS rate is also comparatively high in Douala, which leaves many children without parental care.

Of people in Douala do not have a formal job

People work in the informal sector

It is estimated that almost 75% of the population is employed in the informal sector, which offers little security and very low wages. Families who rely on this kind of income usually have to work very long hours, leaving them little time to take care of their children. In the worst cases, the children have to work and contribute financially to ensure the survival of the family. Although the vast majority of children in Douala attend primary school, many children do not complete primary school. Children from poor households often drop out of school because they have difficulty getting to school or because of additional expenses. Children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS hardly find a way to survive, let alone complete their education.

Your support makes a difference for children in Douala

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
Medical treatments
Were possible
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
A big day for the children in Douala! Cameroon’s biggest basketball star is visiting (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Cameroon).

How your support helps in Douala

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.