SOS Children in Rwanda

Children at school in Rwanda

Our charity has been working to help children in Rwanda since 1978, before the mass killings in 1994 that tore the country apart. Whilst the situation in Rwanda has been improving for years, many were left orphaned after the killings and psychological scars still remain. We help children in Rwanda to grow up happily and safe from harm.

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

Sponsor a child in RwandaA country still scarred by the 1994 genocide

The tragic events of the genocide in 1994 still have an effect on the people of Rwanda. In a small country with a small population, almost everyone was affected in some way by the loss of life; up to 80% of Rwandans who survived the genocide lost close family members. Psychological scars remain for many who witnessed the violence.

HIV/AIDS is also a major concern in Rwanda. The prevalence rate in the country is 2.9%, though in recent years an increase in provisions of anti-retroviral treatment has had success. In Rwanda, around 80% of the population live in poverty, and 40% of Rwandans are chronically undernourished.

Children in Rwanda

  • 690,000 children in Rwanda are growing up without parental care and 130,000 have been left without parents due to HIV/AIDS.
  • Whilst exact figures are unknown, a number of Rwandan children have been recruited as child soldiers to fight in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • In the capital of Kigali, many children roam the streets.
  • Due to causes like malaria, diarrhoea or pneumonia, around one in 10 Rwandan children dies before their fifth birthday.

Our work in Rwanda

Rwanda Map


We began our work in Rwanda in 1978, building our first SOS Children’s Village near the capital of Kigali. As well as the 15 family houses and five SOS Youth Homes (where the older children take a stepping-stone to independence), SOS Children's Village Kigali has an SOS Nursery, an SOS Primary School and an SOS Medical Centre, all of which are used by families in the surrounding area.


We built Rwanda's second SOS Children’s Village in 1992 in Gikongoro, in the south of the country, about 100 miles from Kigali. SOS Children's Village Gikongoro has 12 family houses as well as an SOS Nursery and SOS Primary School for children in the Village and from the local community.

In 1994, with the outbreak of the civil war, the charity set up an emergency home for children in Ngarama as a temporary home for children abandoned and orphaned during the conflict, as well as a feeding centre for refugee mothers and children. The SOS Children's Villages in Kigali and Gikongoro also assisted in the emergency relief programme, taking in refugee children and providing medical attention, as well as working with other charities to reunite children with their families.


To provide a permanent home for the children living in the emergency village at Ngamara, a new SOS Children's Village was established in 1997 in nearby Byumba, nearly 40 miles north of Kigali. The charity's Byumba Village has 15 family houses and five youth houses, a community centre, workshops and a sports ground. As there are no child-care facilities in the vicinity and the local school was destroyed during the civil war, a nursery and primary school have been built for the village children and the local community, and essential medical care, also not available locally, is provided by an SOS clinic which treats over 4,000 patients a year.


In 2011, a fourth SOS Children’s Village opened in Kayonza in the east of Rwanda to help deprived children in that region. The Village has 12 houses for 120 children, an SOS Nursery, an SOS Primary School and an SOS Medical Centre.

Aids Orphans in Rwanda

Life in SOS Children's Villages Rwanda: The story of Brigitte, an SOS Mother in Rwanda:

sponsor a child in Rwanda"Before I became an SOS mother, I was living in the east of the country, about 60 miles from the capital Kigali. On 7 April 1994 in the early hours, armed people attacked my village. I do not know how I managed to escape; some neighbours found me among the dead and brought me to a hiding place. I had to keep moving but it was hard, the whole city was barricaded with executioners at every barrier. There were corpses everywhere. The horror was terrifying.

“After the genocide I never had the courage to count how many of my family I had lost, but knew it included my baby who died while tied on my back, my elder son and his father, my brothers, my sisters and my mother. Some months later, to my great surprise, I found my small sister and my nephew who, as me, had also escaped from death. They were still very young and needed me to help them grow up. They became my new reason for living because I became a mum again.

"I came to SOS Children's Villages Rwanda in 1999, following a radio announcement for the recruitment of an 'SOS aunt’ (SOS family helper). I had no idea what my daily work would be as I had never heard about SOS Children's Villages before. The only thing that interested me was the fact that I would be engaged with children who needed a mum and this was sufficient to restore the necessary morale and force that I was looking for. I worked as an 'SOS aunt' for one year before being promoted to being an SOS mother. Today, I have ten children in my family house. The eldest is fifteen years old and the smallest five years old. All of them attend school. I take care of my children like all the mothers in the whole world. I love them and I listen to them. I try daily to give them the best education.

Local Contact

SOS Villages d'Enfants Rwanda 

B.P. 1168



Tel: +250/252 58 3874

Fax: +250/252 58 3873