Kara is located in the north of the Togolese Republic, in the poorest region of the country. The majority of the more than 100,000 inhabitants live off farming, mostly for to feed themselves and their families. The complex social and economic situation causes families to struggle to stay together and children often end up without parental care. Not only do children lack nutritious food, but they also fail to receive an education, which will give them the chance to break the cycle of poverty as they grow older.
Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kara.
Although education is free and compulsory by law in Togo, some families still cannot afford to send their children to school. The cost of school uniforms and school supplies can be too expensive for families under financial pressure. Long distances to schools and the prospect of physical and sexual abuse at schools also discourage attendance. In addition, children who are living in extreme poverty often have to leave school to help support their families through work. Only around half of children aged 13 to 15 attend school and only a quarter between ages 16 and 18.
When clean water and sanitation infrastructure are scarce, some members of the population fare worse than others. Women have to spend a lot of time collecting water from distant sources. This laborious daily activity means that they have less time to look after children or to be involved in money-making enterprises. Poverty is, thus, higher in female-headed households (48%) than in male-headed households (45%). Women remain more vulnerable, as they have less access to socioeconomic opportunities, education, and health facilities. Improving water services in Togo would mean a reduction in poverty as well as inequality between the genders.