The small town of Tsumeb is situated in northern Namibia, in the Oshikoto region, and has about 15,000 inhabitants.
Tsumeb used to be mainly a mining town, but with the decline of the industry many people lost their jobs. Nevertheless, many people still move to the town in the hope of a better life.
The lack of housing and employment is still the biggest problem in Tsumeb. Parents often struggle to provide for their children or send them to school.
Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tsumeb.
In and around Tsumeb there are many internal migrants who come here to find better opportunities in life. However, living conditions for the majority of the population are very harsh. Many people still do not have access to running water or sanitation facilities such as toilets. In fact, only 5 out of 10 people have access to adequate sanitation across the country. Although the local government is trying to improve the situation in these poor townships in Tsumeb, many people who settle there still live in poor conditions due to rapid population growth.
In the Oshikoto region, years of copper mining have led to toxic emissions. A few years ago, the population was advised not to grow fruit or vegetables in certain areas, for fear of contamination. In addition, the region is frequently hit by severe floods. They damage buildings and roads and have a devastating impact on food production as crops are destroyed. Vulnerable children in the region are most affected by these conditions, which can lead to malnutrition. About 23% of children in the country are too small for their age, because they do not get to eat enough nutritious food.