Poverty is the main reason why children lose parental care in southern Mali

Thanks to the support from SOS Children's Villages, this little girl can go to school and visit the doctor (photo: K. Thomas).
Socoura is a small town located in the Mopti Region of Mali, one of Africa's most forgotten corners. Nowhere else is poverty more pronounced than here. Although government initiatives have brought some much-needed economic progress over recent years, roughly 80 per cent of the population continues to live below the poverty line. The Mopti region remains marked by extraordinarily high levels of illiteracy as access to education continues to be limited. Instead of sending their children to school, families often depend on them as workers in the fields. Among the factors that contribute significantly to poverty are rural isolation, no access to social services and extremely low incomes.

The violence and threats of food insecurity are endangering children

In March 2012, a military coup ousted President Touré while rebel groups in the north of the country were fighting for control of the region. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. Many settled with family and friends or in special camps in the southern parts of the country.

The combination of drought and violent fighting resulted in a shortage of food in 2012. SOS Children's Villages started an Emergency Programme to support vulnerable families. In 2013, a new Emergency Programme supported displaced families. In addition to food and nutritional advice, we offered psychological support to adults and children who had suffered traumatic experiences. Some families were keen to go home once the situation became safer and SOS Children's Villages provided help that included safe transport home.

What we do in Socoura