Port Elizabeth

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

The city of Port Elizabeth has a population of over one million and is located on South Africa’s southeastern coast. It is part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. Despite the end of apartheid in the 1990s, its consequences are still visible here today, as many families are disadvantaged and live in very poor conditions in neglected townships. Basic infrastructure is often lacking, and children have limited access to health services or schools. The spread of HIV/AIDS adds further strain, as many children are at risk of losing parental care due to the disease. Often left to fend for themselves, these children are extremely vulnerable.

Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Port Elizabeth.

Of South African children live in poverty

Widespread poverty

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, Port Elizabeth has experienced much of the same problems as the rest of the country: areas that were formerly inhabited by the forcibly relocated Black African population are now facing urban decay. People in the area suffer from a lack of services, overcrowded and inadequate housing. Many townships lack the most basic infrastructure, such as roads, schools, health services, running water or electricity. Furthermore, unemployment is a key issue in the area and many families struggle to survive. Children growing up here experience disadvantages of all kinds from an early age.

1 in 5
People in South Africa live with HIV/AIDS


In Port Elizabeth, living conditions are already harsh for many people. The spread of HIV/AIDS has exacerbated the hardship that many families face on a daily basis. Children are most affected by these conditions, especially when they are at risk of losing the care of their parents. Unemployment is generally high and when parents fall ill, they are often unable to work, which means they lose their income and can no longer meet the family's basic needs. Their children are then at risk of neglect. In many cases, the children take on the responsibility of caring for their sick parents, compromising their education - and their childhood - in the process. This also has emotional, behavioural and social consequences for the child.

Your support makes a difference for children in Port Elizabeth

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
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Brothers playing a sports together. Siblings grow up together in families, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages South Africa).

How your support helps in Port Elizabeth

Strengthening vulnerable 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.
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.