Cairo, Egypt's capital, is located on the eastern banks of the river Nile, in the northeast of the country.
With a population of more than 25 million people Cairo is not only the biggest city in Egypt it is also the largest urbanized area in Africa. The people in Cairo and Alexandria who have come from rural areas and are living in poverty have grown in large numbers in the last few years, and the resulting population growth rate is double that of other cities in Egypt.
The job markets have not been large enough to offer work to all the new-comers, and the available living quarters have also been insufficient. The financial and social situation of those coming from rural areas has become increasingly difficult and precarious, and the number of orphaned and abandoned children has continued to increase. These conditions were what moved SOS Children’s Villages to build the first two villages in those cities.
The SOS Children's Village Cairo is located on a hilly site in the residential area of Heliopolis, on the north eastern edge of Cairo. It comprises 33 family houses, a house for the Village Director, accommodation for the SOS aunts (SOS aunts take care of the children when SOS mothers are on leave), an administrative- and service block, as well as accommodation for retired SOS mothers. The offices, a hall for festivities and a library are housed in the administrative block. The SOS Kindergarten is also open to the children of the vicinity which has a positive impact on the relations to the people from the neighbourhood.
In order to help boys become independent, two SOS Youth Facilities for boys were opened. Each facility offers accommodation for six boys. The girls are accommodated in four girls youth houses.
As soon as youths reach the age of about 14, they move to one of the three SOS Youth Facilities, where they are taken care of by a youth leader. Being admitted to an SOS Youth Facility means taking responsibility for themselves and is synonymous to making a big step towards independence. Being fully aware of this, SOS mothers, the Village Director and a psychologist prepare them carefully for that change. Usually, youths stay up to four years in an SOS Youth Facility. They may stay longer, however, if they are looking for work, completing professional training or studying at a university.
The construction of the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary- and Secondary School was finished in 1997. At the moment, about 3.000 students attend this school.
In January 2005, another SOS Social Centre was inaugurated. This Centre commits itself to strengthening families, counselling, supporting communities, helping street children and assisting HIV/AIDS patients.