Democratic Republic of the Congo

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located on the equator. With an estimated 90 million inhabitants, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. A rapidly increasing population can worsen many issues the Congolese face, like extreme poverty, economic crisis, and epidemic outbreaks. Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources, the Congolese people rarely get to benefit from them.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1989.

Children are at risk

Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo face many issues including a lack of education, a lack of access to healthcare, extreme poverty, child labour and more. Of the country’s population, 54% are children under 18. UNICEF estimates that 11.5 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Due to the broader health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, vulnerable populations – particularly women and children – are facing devastating consequences. Children are now less likely to attend school and have access to adequate nutrition and health care.
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Congolese live in extreme poverty

Poverty is widespread

In spite of some reforms made to improve the economic situation in recent years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2018, around 73% of the Congolese population lived on less than USD 1.90 a day. Development since the Congo Wars in the 1990s has been hindered by health crises largely due to limited access to sanitation and safe drinking water.

People are internally displaced

Internal displacement

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the second largest displaced population in the world. Due to disputes fought over decades, millions have fled their homes. Violence is concentrated in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North and South Kivu. Most of the 5.2 million internally displaced Congolese live in makeshift camps and urban areas with poor sanitation and health care. Outbreaks of Ebola and cholera also occur in these provinces. Children live in particular danger here, as they are often recruited as child soldiers.

Of children are malnourished

Food insecurity

One quarter of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo experiences food insecurity. The food crisis is partly due to violence-induced displacement and collapsing transport links, which greatly weaken agricultural production. Families across the country are unable to access healthy food. Indeed, 43% of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are malnourished. Even where food is available, high prices and falling incomes mean many people are unable to afford nutritious meals.

Together we can make a difference for children in the DRC

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical services
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children in our care and in the community have a chance to learn and grow together. Spending time at school or in the playgrounds help them develop the skills and bonds that will help them in the future (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives