Message from the Board of Directors
Children are faced with many challenges as they grow up. These range from exposure to abuse, to inadequate care, and to being orphans. SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda focuses on building loving families for children and enabling the community to address challenges that can lead to separation of children from their families.
In all SOS Children’s Villages’ locations in Rwanda, we support children through family based care and facilitate them with education, healthcare and protection to promote their well–being. The children enjoy the benefit of living in a loving family where they are cared for by mothers and aunts.
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda partners with the Government of Rwanda, local and international organizations to deliver children’s programs and ensure advocacy of child rights and better living for children in Rwanda.
We are thankful to the Government of Rwanda for its support and collaboration in our work throughout the country. We also express gratitude to Promoting and Supporting Associations, donors, international and regional SOS Children’s Villages offices and all our staff that have worked relentlessly to ensure the well–being of all the children under our care.
As we continue to support the Government of Rwanda’s efforts, we believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress and we see that reflected in Rwanda’s vision for the present and the future. SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda remains committed to ensure the realization of rights of children in Rwanda and welcome continued partnership.
“Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security”.
Over the next 14 years we want to become an even more successful, thriving organization.
A big number of children suffer from malnutrition, lack access to education where as others can’t at the very least access even the basics of life.
Building a safe and loving environment for young ones requires more of sacrificing than mere hard work, and with this SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda is endeavouring to see that more and more children get a fair shot at a bright and happy future.
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda is an affiliate of SOS Children’s Villages International, a federation of National Associations working all over the world with a mission to ensure that every child grows up with love, security and respect.
SOS Children’s Villages takes action for children as an independent non-governmental development organization and has been working in Rwanda since 1979, when the first SOS Children village was founded in Kigali. it currently has four Children’s Villages supporting home based care to vulnerable children with a robust program team of 339 staff in four locations and a head office in Kigali specializing in education, health, child care and protection, family strengthening programs and advocacy. SOS Children’s Villages works to strengthen families across all of its program by providing direct essential services and support for children and caretakers.
Family Based Care
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda operates four Family Based Care Programs in Kigali, Kayonza, Gicumbi and Nyamagabe Districts with children and youths.
The children under the Family Based Care programs are children who did not have anyone to take care of them and have been brought to the village through the local government and the National Commission for Children.
Altogether 912 children are under SOS Children’s Villages Care of which 501 in Nursery & Primary schools, 229 youth in secondary schools and 182 youth pursuing University studies while 308 youth exited the program and are employed in formal and informal sectors.
In the framework of supporting the Government of Rwanda child care efforts and more specifically improving the wellbeing of street children. SOS Children’s Villages has started a new programme through rehabilitation and reintegration, to avoid recidivism. In particular, SOS Children’s Villages provides them with basic needs and psychological counselling, supports the National Children’s Commission to trace the children’s origin, address underlying causes which pushed them to the street, and reintegrate them into their biological families or place them in foster families as a last resort in conformity to the National Child Care Reform Strategy.
Promoting quality education and training
With Rwanda’s success of achieving universal access to primary education, a strengthened focus has been placed in recent years on supporting the government to improve equitable access to quality education, including early childhood education services.
To complement the above achievements, SOS Children’s Villages implements an education programme and also assists a portion of the population get a better future.
SOS children’s villages strongly believes in quality education as a means to break the cycle of poverty, violence and family breakdown. It supports children to develop the necessary capabilities needed to live in dignity with respect and empowered to participate actively in national development.
To achieve this, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda has established educational facilities with professional teachers and child friendly environment conducive for psychological, physical, emotional and intellectual development. SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda currently operates Hermann-Gmeiner schools, four SOS Children’s Villages-Kindergartens with 1830 children,
Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda operates a state of the art, Technical High School in Kigali. The school has since 2005 graduated 551 students (156 girls and 385 boys) in the TVET skills of Computer sciences, Electricity, Electronics and telecommunication, and Accountancy.
Currently there are 317 students composed of 33 from SOS Children’s Villages and 284 from surrounding communities.
Family strengthening: a key pathway to development
The great upheavals in Rwanda and the consequences of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi have been significant for the family. Alongside the serious loss of life, there has been a momentous change of roles with a high number of widows and orphans and more female and child-headed households as a result.
Social links have greatly suffered due which has caused a severe disruption to the extended family structure. While supportive community-based support structures are highly valued, the family is recognized as the nucleus of support for the optimal development of the child, which is why investments are focused on positive parenting and facilitating every child, regardless if they have parental care, to grow up in a loving family environment. Also one of the deepest constraints faced by the Rwandan family is poverty; making it very difficult for families to meet basic needs and therefore to provide a suitable environment for their children to grow up.
Family Strengthening therefore is critical to enhance the quality of family relationships and enable the development of the family. The ultimate goal of this program is to provide robust social support services to prevent family separations and ensure that those families where children have been reintegrated are equipped with the skills and strategies to overcome any future hardships and successfully stay together. Today, 5002 Children are supported under Family Strengthening Programmes.
These initiatives include construction of radical terraces, animal husbandry revolving system and modern techniques of agriculture, distribution of small animals such as cows to families, training and vocational education and adult literacy among others
Significantly, in all SOS Children’s Villages locations, Village Savings and Loan Associations are implemented and revolving funds to support families save and improve their economic status. With the setting up of Voluntary saving and Lending schemes and groups, SOS Children’s Villages establishes systems, follow up mechanisms and capacity building in financial literacy and cooperative upgrading.
Health care and oral health among young generations and communities
To overcome health and nutrition challenges, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda operates medical centres in Gicumbi, Kayonza and Gasabo. The medical centres serve 10,943 people per year and are linked with the Ministry of Health policies and procedures in service delivery. These centres enable people to use the National Health Insurance Scheme that is used in all government hospitals and health centres. Some of the projects under the Family Strengthening programmes have also incorporated in health aspects in their interventions especially improving hygiene, sanitation and nutrition as key components to strengthen families.
Since 2012, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and in partnership with Dental Health without Frontiers/Borders (TUG), is implementing a joint project for Basic Package Oral care (BPOC) aimed at contributing to sustained improvements of oral and general health among young Rwandan generations in selected primary schools of Nyamagabe, Gicumbi and Gasabo districts.
The project serves a total of 13085 students, teachers and principals along 2016 providing affordable tooth brushes and tooth pastes, oral urgent treatments, a traumatic restorative treatment, oral and general health education. Messages promoting oral health care are delivered to students along the period to raise their awareness on health related issues.
Enhancing child rights through advocacy
SOS Children’s Villages is establishing support structures for advocacy in four districts, Gicumbi, Gasabo, Kayonza and Nyamagabe, designed to improve the awareness and implementation of children’s rights. The organisation is applying a multi-level approach targeting duty bearers charged with child protection in order to create a child-friendly environment at all levels of society. Empowering both right holders and duty bearers will ensure sustainability of the intervention and the widespread knowledge on child rights in their respective communities.
Currently SOS Children’s Villages is working to increase knowledge on child rights and build capacities of all relevant stakeholders to improve the implementation of Integrated Child Rights Policy and advocate for child rights in families, communities and government structures.
Through adhoc and permanent technical working groups, SOS Children’s Villages actively participates in the National Child Protection working group, the national network of organizations working on the deinstitutionalization process in Rwanda under the Tumurere Mu Muryango Program, the coalition ‘Umwana ku Isonga’, the Parenting in Africa Network to mention but a few.
For a more and well-coordinated response to the child rights related issues, SOS Children’s Villages initiated and strengthened district networks of the stakeholders intervening in the area of child rights.
Building healthy minds through sports
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda has invested in sports activities for children and youth in a bid to promote positive effects of development of a strong sense of morality; participation in learning the important life skills of goal setting combined with enjoyment; and the development of an appreciation of diversity. This programme support youths to develop their talents in sports and build good relationship with the neighbourhood. The sports projects are used as an opportunity to raise awareness on various issues affecting youths like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy among others.
In partnership with International Organization “Skate-Aid”, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda has constructed a Skate park in order to facilitate children and youths to come together through sports, build social cohesion, promote tolerance, social responsibility, unity and peace-building. This child and youth friendly recreational initiative, was launched by SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda, during the Kwibuka22 under the theme ‘fighting genocide ideology through sports for children”.
The Hermann Gmeiner Training and Research Centre
The Hermann Gmeiner Training and Research Centre at Kigali operates in response to the need for human resource development within SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda, Burundi and other countries of the region. It is a multi-functional center offering a range of services including and other core co-workers training and refresher courses, specialized training on child and youth care and serves as a venue for national regional and International SOS Children’s Villages meetings.
The Hermann Gmeiner Training and Research Centre has registered a number of achievements including but not limited to: conducting training of trainers forming a pool of SOS Children’s Villages trainers on the therapeutic use of Daily Life Events (DLE) and Outcomes That Matter (OTM), child rights and non-violent communication, launched a pilot psychosocial support project for children and caregivers as an action-research initiative whereby 88 children were admitted for psychological consultations and diagnosis, graduation of SOS Children’s Villages mothers and aunts from Rwanda and Burundi to full-time motherhood, networking with the University of Torino/Italia led us to start implementing the Fenix project for resilience of children with school difficulties among others.
Marie-Theogene Muteteli a 55-year old has worked with SOS Children’s Villages for twenty two years now, she is a mother to the foster children in the organisation, a task she finds so fulfilling.
She says that though these children didn’t have the opportunity to be raised by their biological parents; mothers in SOS Children’s Villages have always been there for them. “We raise these children as our own show them unconditional love and guide them so that they get to turn out as responsible citizens.
Willy Kimenyi is a 22-year-old student at The Adventist University of Central Africa pursuing a bachelor in accounting. He appreciates the efforts that SOS Children’s Villages puts in ensuring that the Rwandan child gets to receive a brighter future. “I was left in the care of SOS Children’s Villages when I was only a week old but I have never for once failed to get all the basics a child needs. I have been loved and cared for, received an education and now see my future so bright all because of SOS Children’s Villages,” he narrates.
The way to go
Taking the lead from the “Foundational Issues” of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2013-2018) upon which SOS Children’s Villages programme is largely mirrored, our work takes an integrated approach along the continuum of a child’s life and in the context of a strong loving family environment.
SOS Children’s Villages will significantly increase its prevention, protection and reintegration efforts, continue learning from its experience, sharing promising practices and improving its approach throughout its locations and programme intervention areas.
Celebrating success, sustaining gains and repositioning of SOS Children’s Villages is the way to go as we accelerate the implementation of the SOS Children’s Villages 2030 strategy with its seven strategic initiatives; Innovate alternative child care and deepen its integration, strengthen families to prevent family separation and emergency response; empower young people to strengthen their care and employability; advocate for children and give them a voice, mobilize people for quality child care; simplify SOS and create a simpler, agile and digital organization and invest for funding growth. This will lead to achieving sustained quality care for children.
Join to support
SOS Children’s Villages welcomes local and international individual and institutional donor partners to contribute towards making it a possibility for every child to live in a loving family.
You can also call the Institutional Partnership Development Manager on +250 788 643 528 and you will be given all details on how one can contribute to positively impacting the lives of children.