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

Harrar is a city of roughly 151,000 inhabitants, located in eastern Ethiopia, between the lush central highlands and the Somali desert. Harrar is considered one of four holy cities of Islam. Infrastructure in this part of the country is almost non-existent. The Horn of Africa is arguably the world's poorest spot. Tarmac roads, schools and hospitals are scarce. The region is marked by high infant mortality rates and above-average malnourishment figures, both among adults and young children. Recurrent political instability, frequent power cuts and unreliable water supply are very common.

Since 1980, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Harrar.

Of children under 5 are small for their age

Children are malnourished

Children are the hardest hit by the difficult social, economic and political conditions in the region. They are at risk due to poverty, ethnic conflict and malnutrition. They also lack access to sanitation, safe water, and education. Many families struggle to cover the basic needs of their children. For example, 80% of children under five are below normal height for their age. The situation is made worse due to conflicts – families are displaced and so lose their social support networks and ways of making a living. Children are often separated from their families and have to look after themselves.

Of girls go on to secondary school

High youth unemployment

The region has one of the lowest primary and secondary enrolment rates in the country. The situation is slowly improving thanks to an increase in investment. However, children’s schooling is often interrupted by unrest or natural disasters such as floods. In addition, when families are displaced, or are forced to move around frequently, it is hard for children to attend school regularly. There is also a big difference between boys and girls in the area of education: girls drop out of school earlier as they are married earlier. Only 10% of girls go onto secondary school.

Your support makes a difference for children in Harrar

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.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Learn at our kindergarten and school
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children enjoy spending their free time together. They often form bonds which will last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Ethiopia).

How your support helps in Harrar

Strengthening 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..
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.