SOS Children in Central African Republic

Two children from Central African Republic, smiling

We work to help children in Central African Republic (CAR), many of whom have been orphaned by AIDS or violence. Our charity helps children in Bangui and Bouar. Many children lack basic services, so we help some of the most desperate in our children’s villages.

With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Central African Republic by sponsoring a child:

Sponsor a child in CAR

Crippling poverty

Ranked 179th out of 187 in the United Nations Human Development Index, Central African Republic and its people rely extensively on the help of foreign donors and NGOs. Around 90% of the population live in poverty, one of the world’s highest figures. About half the population do not know how to read and write and about 40% lack access to regular meals. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is very high at 4.7%. However, more people than ever have access to anti-retroviral therapy.

Central African Republic Map

Children in the Central African Republic

  • About 370,000 children in Central African Republic are orphans.
  • Recruitment of children as child soldiers remains a problem in Central African Republic. Children exposed to violence often get traumatised and their development is affected. 
  • In some regions, only 14% of children attend school. In the whole country, only 22% of children finish primary school. 
  • Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS continues to be a big public health issue. Malaria is also an issue and one of the leading causes of child deaths in the country. 
  • Hunger is common, especially in rural areas. Nearly 4 in 10 children are stunted and in some areas, up to 10% of children suffer from acute malnutrition.

Our charity work in Central African Republic


We began our work in the country in the late1980's with the opening of the first SOS Children’s Village in Bangui at the request of the government. Bangui is the capital city of the Central African Republic and is home to over half a million people. It is located on the Oubangui River, which forms a natural border between the CAR and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. SOS Children's Village Bangui is to the west of city, between the Gbazabangui hills and the Oubangui River, in the Gbangouma district, about four miles from the city centre.

SOS Children's Village Bangui was built on seven hectares of land and it opened in June 1992. Alongside the 11 family homes for 110 children are houses for the Village Director and SOS aunts (SOS mothers-in-training) and lots of green open space, where the children can play together and make friends. A fish and vegetable market, a mission station and a hospital are also very close to the SOS Children's Village.Family homes Bangui

Eighty SOS teenagers live in the SOS Youth Homes, also located on site. Here they can keep a close tie with their SOS mothers, brothers and sisters and continue their education, while learning to live more independently.

An SOS Nursery School with five classrooms offers a fun pre-school education to 125 little children, from both the SOS Children's Village and the surrounding community. Nearly 500 children attend the nearby SOS Primary School, which has 12 classrooms, a multipurpose hall, and a library. Local secondary schools are located in Bangui.

Two thousand AIDS-affected children and their families in Bangui are given support through the SOS Family Strengthening Programme. These families are in danger of collapsing due to severe economic or emotional issues and we provide them with both short-term support (food, school fees etc) and longer-term support (skills training etc), which help prevent child abandonment. To ensure these children and other children in the local community remain healthy, the SOS Medical Centre treats 12,000 patients a year. The centre has consultation rooms, a laboratory, a room for vaccination and nutrition programmes, and a medicine store.


Due to the increasing need for our work a second SOS Children’s Village opened in 2009. SOS Children’s Village Bouar in western Central African Republic has 12 family houses for 120 children. An SOS Nursery School and SOS Primary School have also been built, and over 12,000 patients per year can benefit from the SOS Medical Centre and a Family Strengthening Programme

Aids Orphans in Central African Republic

See also Aids Orphan Projects in the Central African Republic.

Life in SOS Children's Villages CAR: Martin’s story

Martin came to live at SOS Children's Village Bangui in October 2008. He was nearly two years old.  His father had died and he had been living with his mother, his brother Claude and his sister Anna in a ruined house, at the mercy of the bad weather. They were sleeping on the floor, on a piece of paper serving as a mattress. Martin's mother was young and poor. She had neither employment nor money to provide her children with adequate education and care. The children couldn't go to school and had limited access to healthcare when they were ill. They were obliged to walk all day long begging and asking for charity so they could have something to eat.

When Martin came to the Children’s Village he was tiny, pale, weak, and was suffering from malaria, aggravated bronchitis and malnutrition. He was Two boys KG Banguiimmediately admitted to hospital where he stayed for several weeks, with his SOS mother spending as much time as she could with him.  It was a difficult period for both Martin and his SOS mother.

"Even once he was home, Martin hardly ate”, his SOS mother said.  “He was very shy. He hardly spoke and barely played with other children. He was always alone. I was the only person he accepted and for that reason it was difficult for me to leave him, because he needed my presence. He was afraid of everybody, even of cars. He would run to hide whenever he heard a vehicle arriving."

Fortunately, little by little, Martin began to recover and grow stronger, and slowly he became a cheerful little boy.  Today, he is a transformed child who runs and plays in the Village with his brother and sister, who live in the same family house, and with his new SOS brothers and sisters. "I see remarkable changes in him every day. He is a new child compared to the one who arrived here. Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize him. He approaches people without being afraid and systematically wants to know what people are doing. He is not afraid of cars any more. As soon as he sees a vehicle he goes to touch it.

Martin also loves music and dances to the sound of coupé décalé, a typical rhythm from Côte d'Ivoire. "I am happy and proud of him, when I see all the progress he has made", says his SOS mother.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy

Local Contact

SOS Children in Central African Republic

Villages d’Enfants SOS de République Centrafricaine

BP 1745


Central African Republic

Tel: +236/70 99 28 93, +236/75 50 34 41