Beira is the second largest city in Mozambique. It is located on the Indian Ocean and is an important port which also acts as a gateway for neighbouring land-locked countries.
The region was badly affected by the civil war: schools and health care facilities were damaged. In rural areas, unexploded land mines have put an end to traditional subsistence farming, and many people moved to Beira in search of new opportunities.
As the city grew, the infrastructure and services have not been able to keep up. People who moved to the city found it hard to find appropriate housing and have often ended up living in slum-like conditions; they have limited access to safe drinking water, sanitation, health care and education. To make matters worse, these shelters are often built in areas which are prone to flooding.
Children who grow up here will seldom get a good education. Although in recent years the enrolment rate has improved, the quality of schooling remains low. In addition, many children have to travel far to get to school and often arrive with an empty stomach, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate on learning.
SOS Children's Village Beira runs a number of programmes to support local families, young people and children in need. The SOS Family Strengthening Programme aims to provide children with access to essential nutritional, education and health services.
Psychological support and counselling are also offered. The focus is on families who are at risk of breaking down, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS. Through these programmes we aim to reach over 1000 children and 250 adults. Children who are no longer able to live with their families can grow up in one of the 15 SOS family homes. They live alongside their brothers and sisters and are cared for by their SOS mother.
We also provide the local community with a kindergarten, where up to 100 children can be looked after during the day. Some of these children come from the SOS families, but most of them come from families who live in the neighbourhood.