SOS Children in Democratic Republic of Congo

Child Bukavu, DRC

We offer hope to the children of Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been unsettled by a deadly civil war and continued violence. We have been working in Democratic Republic of Congo since the 1980s, and have given many children a stable and happy uprising.

With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Democratic Republic of Congo by sponsoring a child:

Sponsor a child in DR Congo

Continuing violence against locals

Between 1998 and 2003, millions of people lost their lives as conflict ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo. Rape and torture against men, women and children were reported. Clashes between different groups, military operations, exploitation of resources and natural disasters mean that as of December 2010, over a million people in the DRC faced internal displacement. Three-quarters of the population are seriously undernourished, as food shortages take their toll. Major diseases including cholera, malaria and typhoid fever affect the lives of many. On the United Nations Development Index, Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked as one of the least developed countries in the world.

Dem Rep of Congo Map

Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Children in Democratic Republic of Congo can face terrible trauma. In certain regions, recruitment into armed gangs is a possibility; the number of child soldiers in the DRC is amongst the highest in Africa.
  • Malnutrition in children is high and leads to many child deaths. The under-five-mortality rate is 199 per 1,000 births. Almost one in five children do not live beyond the age of five.
  • The health infrastructure is well below the required standards to care for children in the country. Democratic Republic of Congo is lacking in all healthcare areas, which is leading to preventable child deaths and severe development problems for many children lucky enough to survive.

Our charity work in Democratic Republic of Congo


We began working in the former Zaire in 1989 with the opening of the SOS Children's Village in Bukavu on the shores of Lake Kivu in the east of the country. It is the eastern DRC that has witnessed most of the violence since 1996. The Village has 15 family houses which are home to 150 children, and SOS Youth Homes for over 140 young people from the village who are taking their first steps to independence. Much-needed educational and medical facilities for the local community are provided through the well-established SOS nursery school (125 children), primary school (420 children), and medical centre (nearly 4,000 patients per year).

An SOS Vocational Training Centre for 170 youths opened in 2008, and gives the teenagers the skills needed by the local economy. Courses include secretarial studies, IT, woodwork/carpentry, masonry, electrics and plumbing. Students study for between one and three years and will receive a government-recognised certificate as a skilled worker.

Since 2004, SOS Family Strengthening Programmes have supported local families to protect and care for their children. They reach out to up to 700 children a year and provide them and their families with food, school fees, basic medical treatment and counselling. Moreover, AIDS affected families are offered support to improve their housing and their living conditions. Those accepted onto the Family Strengthening Programmes are mainly families where children who have lost both parents now live with grandparents, or older siblings or other relatives, as well as those whose parents are seriously ill.

In 1994, Bukavu provided a refuge for children who had to be evacuated from the SOS Children's Gikongoro community in neighbouring Rwanda because of the civil war.

sponsor a child in Congo


Following unrest in the South Kivu region in 1998, an emergency relief programme was set up in Uvira to support children who had been abandoned. Although many were reunited with their own families, it was decided to make the temporary village into a permanent SOS Children's Village. Family homes were provided for 150 children whose parents had been killed in the fighting. As in Bukavu, there is an SOS Nursery for 75 children, an SOS Primary School for 210 pupils, and an SOS Medical Centre for over 2,000 patients a year, and an SOS Family Strengthening Programme for 400 AIDS affected children and their families.

SOS Children ran another emergency relief programme in 2002 following the volcanic eruption in Goma, not far from the Villages, which left thousands homeless.


To support children in and around the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, we opened DRC's third SOS Children's Village in 2011. SOS Children’s Village Kinshasa has 15 family houses for 150 orphaned or abandoned children, an SOS Nursery School for 75 little children, an SOS Primary School for 210 students, and an SOS Medical Centre for over 1,000 patients a year.

Aids Orphans in Democratic Republic of Congo

Life in SOS Children's Villages Democratic Republic of Congo: Rodrigue's Christmas wishes

Eleven-year-old Rodrigue at SOS Children’s Village Uvira wrote a letter to Father Christmas last year:

"Dear Father Christmas,

I am happy to write this letter, on behalf of the street children who don't know how to reach you. Our country was struck with civil wars since 1996, and several children became orphans due to this situation. Many of them are homeless and live on the street. They don't go to school; they don't have food to eat and even clothes to wear. I know, you can probably buy them some clothes and shoes to wear on Christmas, and even the food that they will eat on Christmas and after the holiday. Please, also buy them school stationeries so that they can go to school.

Thanks a lot in advance, a kiss from Uvira, Rodrigue."

*name has been changed to protect privacy

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Local Contact

Villages d'Enfants SOS de République Démocratique du Congo
BP 1988
Avenue Lundula No. 17 / Muhumba
Congo, Democratic Republic

Tel: +243 (0) 813 186 244, +243 (0) 999 792 787