Socoura is a small town located in the Mopti Region of Mali. Despite some government initiatives, roughly 50% of the population continues to live below the poverty line, which according to the United Nations is $1.90 per day.
The region remains marked by high levels of illiteracy, as access to education continues to be limited.
Many children do not go to school, and instead have to contribute to the family income by working in the fields.
Since 1996, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Socoura.
Poverty is the main reason why children lose parental care in southern Mali. Among the factors that contribute significantly to poverty are rural isolation, no access to social services and extremely low incomes. More than half of the population lives below the income poverty line, meaning that 50% make less than $1.90 a day. A lack of proper medical facilities and awareness means that children often die from mild illnesses, instead of benefitting from the country’s free vaccination programme. Children from struggling families often leave school to work. Common forms of child labour include sexual exploitation, begging and forced labour agricultural and domestic work.
Mali is one of the hottest countries on the planet. Severe drought accompanied by flash floods often means the loss of crops and livestock. Few families are able to cope and thousands of parents have seen their children die of hunger. Each year during the rainy season, floods affect communities especially on the inner delta of the Niger River. In August 2019 floods put 87% of the population at risk in the area. Over 800 houses were washed away, leaving hundreds of people without a home and food stocks. The consequences of natural disasters for vulnerable families can leave them even more vulnerable than before.