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

Bukavu is a port city in the province of South Kivu on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has developed into a densely populated city with over one million inhabitants. In recent years, the population has continued to increase as many people have fled the violent ethnic conflicts in both Burundi and Rwanda. However, Bukavu has also been ravaged by civil war in the past. Because of this, many children were forced to become child soldiers and were left to fend for themselves. These children are exposed to begging, informal employment, crime and commercial sexual exploitation to survive.

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

33 Million
People in rural areas do not have access to drinking water

Access to sanitation and water

Clean drinking water is hard to come by for people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 33 million people living in rural areas have no access to clean drinking water. In Bukavu, the arrival of displaced people in host communities with little access to drinking water increases pressure on available resources. A lack of clean water leads to diarrhea and cholera. Women and girls spend most of their time fetching water instead of going to school. Until the region is sustainably developed and stabilised, the need to find solutions for vulnerable children and their families will remain.

Children were attacked at schools

Children are at risk

As the city of Bukavu lies on the border with Rwanda, it remains a strategic location for the armed forces. The province of South Kivu is also important because of its significant deposits of raw materials, which are illegally exported. The country's current poverty and instability is rooted in decades of violence, mismanagement and corruption. Thousands of families have been displaced and are struggling to escape poverty. According to the World Bank, poverty in the country is so severe that about half of the children grow up malnourished and most have no access to education. When armed militias attacked more than 60 schools in 2020, 45,000 children were put in acute danger.

Your support makes a difference for children in Bukavu

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
Children playing music together. Siblings grow up together and often form bonds that last a lifetime. (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Democratic Republic of the Congo).

How your support helps in Bukavu

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.