SOS Children in Somalia

sponsor a child in Somalia

Our charity work in Somalia is extremely challenging. Somalia is one of the most unstable and dangerous countries in the world. When the majority of international relief organisations left Somalia, SOS Children remained in the country to help the Somali people.

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

Sponsor a child in Somalia

A precarious country to live in

Somalia’s extreme violence in recent years has led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being displaced. Since January 2010, 200,000 have been forced to leave their homes. Around 85% of the population of Somalia live in poverty and life expectancy is only 50 years. Most Somalians have no consistent access to clean water, food and sanitation. HIV is a major health problem, as are other diseases including cholera and hepatitis. However, healthcare has been improving and an effort to eradicate polio is succeeding. Over a third of the population of Somalia never attend school.

Children in Somalia

  • Children are recruited as child soldiers in the ongoing civil war. Many more experience violence in their daily lives.
  • The country has one of the lowest school enrolment rates in the world with children attending school for just 1.8 years on average.
  • Somalia also has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates, at 105 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Our charity work in Somalia

Somalia Map


Mogadishu was chosen as location of the first SOS Children's Village in the country. SOS Children's Village Mogadishu opened in 1985 and is situated about five miles from the city centre. It has 12 family houses for 120 orphaned or abandoned children, a village director's house, a guest house, an SOS aunts' house (SOS aunts are SOS mothers-in-training), a sports ground, a playground, a workshop, and lots of open space for the children to play together and make friends. The SOS Nursery, built on the same site, has four classrooms for 120 little children, a kitchen and a playground. The children come from both the SOS Children’s Village and the local community.

From about the age of fifteen, the SOS teenagers live in an SOS Youth Home for the period of their secondary/vocational education, giving them more responsibility as they are supervised by one youth leader. SOS mothers, village directors and psychologists carefully prepare the youngsters for this significant step towards independence.

In 1988, an SOS Primary and Secondary School for 560 pupils opened, as did an SOS Mother and Child Clinic, which cares for 30,000 patients a year. An average of 14 babies a day are born here in safe conditions with trained doctors and midwives. When the civil war broke out in 1990, SOS Children started a major medical emergency relief and food programme. The SOS School was converted into an emergency clinic where adults and children injured in the war were cared for, and the mother and child clinic became part of the emergency relief programme.  In order to provide youths in Somalia with a professional training, the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Mogadishu offers three-year and a four-state-approved training courses in nursing and midwifery.

For many years SOS Children was one of very few international relief organizations that was active in the south of the country. Clans and warlords controlled Mogadishu and many parts of the country for a long time; during the first half of 2006 the Islamic Court Union fought them and expelled the warlords from Mogadishu. War erupted later that year. Since then the fighting has badly affected the SOS families and staff: several colleagues and one former SOS child died after being hit with stray bullets and mortars. The SOS Children’s Village was even occupied by soldiers for a few days.

Luckily the security situation in Mogadishu improved and after carefully evaluating the situation, the SOS Children’s Village opened in February 2009. The SOS Vocational Training Centre reopened in March 2009 and in June 2009 the clinic in Afgoye was handed over to a local women’s organisation.

Since 1985 we have had a continued presence in Mogadishu and maintained our operations (with some temporary closures) throughout the civil war until the present day. We have also maintained a good relationship with UN agencies, international NGOs, local authorities, community elders and leaders in the project area and we have constructive partnerships with ECHO (EU Humanitarian Office), UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the World Food Programme.

Aids Orphans in Somalia

Life in SOS Children's Villages Somalia: Ayanna's Story

Sponsor a child in Somalia

When the civil war broke out in Somalia in early 1991 and a government-sponsored orphanage collapsed, Ayanna (now 25 years old) was very frightened. She became very sick and had few clothes and little food. There was no one to look after her.

Shortly afterwards, Ayanna came to live at SOS Children's Village Mogadishu. She was enrolled in the SOS School the following year. "Because I was eight years old when I came to the village, I was directly taken to grade one". Ayanna had received very little education at the government orphanage. However, she completed her primary education with us. She later went to study basic computer skills and business studies at a training centre.

In January 2004 she got a job in the outpatient department of the SOS Mother and Child Clinic. In 2006 Ayanna was married and started a new life with her own family.

While heavy fighting was in progress between government troops and insurgents around the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu, Ayanna went into labour with her first baby. She managed to pass all the roadblocks and arrived at the SOS Clinic, 24 hours into an obstructed labour. "The insecurity around the clinic prevented me from seeking medical help at the right time" she said.

Her colleagues at the clinic took her to the operating theatre for an emergency caesarean. Today she thanks SOS Children's Villages for not only taking care of her when she was in the village and the youth home but also for saving her life and that of her beautiful baby girl.