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

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago of Tanzania, 25 km off the mainland and around one million people live here. While the islands were once the world’s biggest producer of cloves, the industry has declined over the years, leaving many people unemployed and their families living in poverty.

Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Zanzibar.

Of children in Tanzania live in poverty

Children living in poverty

While the islands of Zanzibar were once the world’s biggest producer of cloves and other spices, international competition and other global factors have caused sales to decrease by 80% over the past few decades. This has led to increasing unemployment among the local population. Poverty levels on the island are high, and children suffer many of the consequences. As many as 74% of children experience poverty, suffering deprivation in areas such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, housing and education. Child labour and exploitation is also common here, especially during harvest times and the main tourist season.

Girls leave school every year due to pregnancy

Girls need more support

In recent years, some improvements have been achieved in terms of gender equality in Zanzibar. The primary school enrolment rate is now almost the same for boys and girls. However, the situation looks very different in secondary school: many girls drop out early. Forced and early marriages remain widespread, which has disproportionate effects for girls. Adolescent pregnancy leads to almost 3,700 Tanzanian girls dropping out of school each year. Sexual and gender-based violence also continues to be a problem.

Your support makes a difference for children in Zanzibar

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.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Adult and young people
Attend our trainings
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children tend to plants and take care of them to give them a green healthy environment (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Zanzibar).

How your support helps in Zanzibar

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 trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start 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.
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.