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

Located at the foot of Mount Kenya in the centre of the country, Meru has a population of roughly 250,000. The region’s economy is based primarily on agriculture and the local population make a living in small-scale farming. Historically, there has been unrest in the region as farming and grazing land is limited, especially in times of drought. Many children in the region face challenges, which include limited school attendance, insufficient health services, malnutrition and the risk of losing parental care due to HIV/AIDS.

Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Meru.

Of primary-aged children go to school in Meru

Access to education

Like in other parts of Kenya, the new policy on free primary school education has led to improvements and many more children are going to primary school in the country. However, numbers are still comparatively low in Meru County, especially in the north of the region, where only 56% of children of primary-school-age are enrolled. Secondary school attendance is even lower, at 15%. As a result, illiteracy is a common problem and many young people have few opportunities when it comes to future employment.

1 in 11
Children is without parental care due to HIV

Lack of health services

In Meru, only 53% of children receive full vaccinations before the age of 12 months. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also severely affected the region and many people are not able to receive treatment. There is a great number of children who have lost their parents to the virus or are vulnerable, meaning that a parent has died, or there is a chronically ill parent in the household. In Meru North, 1 in 11 children is without parental care, and almost 20% of children are at risk of losing care.

Your support makes a difference for children in Meru

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
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Learn at our kindergarten
We work in partnership to reach out to families in the region. The aim is to alleviate hardship and maintain family stability so that children will be safe and protected. We ensure that children have access to essential health and nutritional services, as well as education (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Kenya).

How your support helps in Meru

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 training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own 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.