SOS Children in Benin
Benin in north-west Africa has one of Africa's rare democratic systems and is relatively economically stable. However, infant and maternal mortality are high, as is female illiteracy. Poverty and illness are widespread.
The acute need for care facilities for orphaned and abandoned children led to the charity's construction of its first community in 1987 at Abomey-Calavi, about 17 km from the country's largest city, Cotonou. Six family houses were built, together with a nursery school and a primary school. The charity added five more family houses in 1990 and the village is now home to over 100 children.
Both the nursery school and the primary school provide children from the neighbourhood, as well as the village, with a sound education. Because of the lack of schools in Benin, a secondary school was built in 2002, which has capacity for over 400 pupils and specialist facilities for teaching arts and music.
Benin's second SOS Children's community came about as the result of a particular problem with children being abandoned because of traditional beliefs. SOS Children's Village Natitingou opened in 1999. Natitingou is the capital of the province Atacorta in the north-west of Benin. The village is on a hill on the edge of the town on the main road to Djougou, in a sparsely populated, predominantly poor area. It has ten family houses which are home to 100 children. There is a kindergarten for 50 children and also a primary school, both of which take in children from the local community as well as the SOS families.
A third village in the city of Dassa-Zoumé, about 125 miles from Cotonou in the centre of the country opened in 2006. There are twelve family houses for 120 children, a nursery school for 50 children in two classes, a primary school for 210 children in six classes and a social centre which will give support and help to prevent abandonment to 12,000 people each year in the local communities. The main focus of the social centre is a community AIDS awareness project, as AIDS infection rates in Dassa-Zoumé are among the highest in the country.
SOS Children Charity in Benin Association des Villages d’Enfants SOS au Bénin, B.P. 82, Abomey-Calavi, Benin
Tel & Fax: +229/36/07/12
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