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São Domingos

Although Cape Verde has been politically stable for many years, a number of children on the islands continue to live in rather precarious conditions. Child labour remains a major problem. SOS Children's Villages has been supporting Cape Verdean children for more than three decades.

Despite noticeable progress in terms of poverty-reduction and numerous government initiatives, not all children in Praia are living a happy childhood

Children from the SOS Children's Village (photo: C. Ladavicius).
SOS Children's Village São Domingos is located on the Cape Verdean island of São Tiago, just outside the country's capital, Praia. Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony, comprises ten islands and five islets. The government of Cape Verde has made efforts to fight child poverty and a lack of education by supporting radio and television programmes that aim to reach children of primary-school age with alternative educational opportunities. In Praia and Mindelo, the two major urban centres in Cape Verde, many orphaned and abandoned children face a life in the streets where they eke out a living by washing cars, hauling cargo or engaging in petty theft.

Although Cape Verde is more developed than most countries in continental Africa, a considerable number of Cape Verdeans continue to live a challenging life in precarious socioeconomic conditions. Over the last decades, social class distinction has become more noticeable on the island. An affluent minority in Praia inhabit the older parts of town while the vast majority live in less attractive neighbourhoods. Poverty in Praia may not be as pronounced or visible as in other African capitals. However, looking behind the curtain, one will quickly notice that it has not yet disappeared. While most children have access to education, some problems do remain. Educational facilities on the outskirts of Praia and more rural parts of the island are still scarce. The government has promised to intensify efforts to guarantee universal schooling in Cape Verde with the help of NGOs.

School enrolment remains low despite economic progress

Despite economic progress, numerous children in Praia and Mindelo do not go to school. They work in order to support their families with an extra income and miss out on a decent education. Many of these children work in agriculture where they are exposed to dangerous machinery and pesticides. The number of children who live in the streets of Praia has been on the rise. In order to do something about the growing number of street children in Cape Verde, SOS Children's Village took the decision to support local families and their children by implementing the first SOS Children's Village at Assomada in 1984. The work of our organisation in Sao Domingos began in 2003. In October 2004, in the presence of the island's prime minister, SOS Children's Village Sao Domingos was officially inaugurated.

What we do in Sao Domingos

Proud SOS mother with her children (photo: C. Ladavicius).
SOS Children's Village São Domingos is located just outside of Praia, the island nation's capital city. It is very well integrated into the surrounding community and much appreciated for the holistic and integral package of services it offers to people in need. This package includes support to vulnerable families from the community, a kindergarten, a youth programme and loving homes for children who have lost parental care due to various reasons.

Implemented in 2003, the SOS Children's Village now comprises 10 SOS families where up to 100 orphaned and abandoned children live with their brothers and sisters under the care of loving SOS mothers.

Through our SOS Youth Programme, young people develop perspectives for their future and learn to shoulder responsibility as they lead semi-independent lives with the help of our qualified staff. They are encouraged to develop a sense of team spirit and build contacts with relatives and friends.

At the SOS Kindergarten, up to 100 children from the local community and the SOS Children's Village get to spend the day in a conducive and colourful learning and playing environment.