During the civil war, Benguela has served as a refuge for thousands of people from the mountain regions, and many refugee children were placed in refugee camps and orphanages there. Benguela is situated approximately 400 kilometres north of Lubango, location of the first Angolan SOS Children's Village, and about 700 kilometres south of Luanda, the country's capital. The region around Benguela is known to be one of the most stable of the country. The Governor of Benguela has always been very supportive towards the activities of SOS Children's Villages and a suitable plot of land was offered for free.
SOS Children's Village Benguela comprises twelve family houses (with a capacity for up to 120 children), a multi-purpose building, a workshop, a community house, an administration and service area and houses for the SOS aunts (who support the SOS mothers and take care of the children when the mothers are on leave) and the village director.
The adjoining SOS Kindergarten on the same premises consists of four group rooms, a kitchen and a playground, and has a capacity of up to 100 children. The twelve classrooms and two vocational training rooms of the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School can be used by up to 480 pupils, who receive primary school education there. A sports field also belongs to the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School. Moreover, an SOS Medical Centre with a capacity of about 500 patients was built, comprising two examination rooms, a surgery room, two wards (each to accommodate ten patients), a waiting room and a kitchen.
The main aim of the family strengthening programme is to help children at risk of losing their natural family environment by strengthening their families' ability to care for them. This includes educational scholarships, provision of school material and school uniforms, medical support and promotion of income-generating activities. Moreover, a local orphanage receives material support through the family strengthening programme.