SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Somalia)

Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa and home to over 12 million people. After decades of conflict, there are signs that the country is starting to rebuild. However, there are still many challenges related to the destroyed infrastructure, precarious security situation and natural disasters such as droughts, floods, famines and disease. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and families.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Somalia since 1985.

Children are at risk

Children growing up in Somalia face many risks, especially those growing up in families experiencing hardship. An estimated 3.2 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance – they need food and medical treatment, a safe roof over their heads and proper education to improve their lives. The rights of children must also be protected. Only 3% of children are registered at birth. If children do not have official documentation, they can be denied their rights to healthcare, education and social assistance.
Of Somalia’s population lives in poverty


Around 77 % of the Somali population lives in poverty. Many do not have access to adequate food, safe shelter, proper sanitation or clean drinking water. Poverty is highest in rural areas and among internally displaced people who have been forced to leave their homes and the communities that support them due to conflict or natural disasters. Many children are at risk of not receiving enough nutritious food and the education they need, as they are forced to work - often in exploitative and dangerous conditions - to contribute to their families' livelihoods.

Children are out of school


Somalia has some of the lowest school enrolment rates in world. Of the 4.5 million children who should be in school, only around 1.5 million children are actually attending. A lack of available educational facilities, materials and teachers account for this. Families affected by poverty or in a crisis cannot afford the school fees. Children are withdrawn from school, and have to contribute towards the family’s livelihood. As a result, only 37% of people know how to read and write. The illiteracy rate for women is acutely high at 75%.

Deaths per 100,000 live births


When a child is born in Somalia, it has one of the lowest chances of surviving to adulthood worldwide. Many families do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which fuels the spread of life-threatening diseases. Young children, internally displaced persons and pregnant women are particularly at risk. Somalia has the sixth highest maternal mortality rate in the world (732 deaths per 100,000 live births). Most of these deaths could be prevented if pregnant women had access to adequate health care.

Together we can make a difference for children in Somalia

Grow up in our care
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical services
Were possible
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children in our care having fun playing together. Burhaan, older than her siblings, enjoys having fun and chatting in the garden after a long day at school. Siblings grow up together, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Somalia).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives