SOS Children's Village Hawassa

SOS Kinderdorf International decided to build an SOS Children's Village in Hawassa, after a severe drought took many lives in the mid 1980s.

Hawassa is situated on the eastern side of Lake Awassa, in the Rift Valley of the Sidamo region, approximately 275 km southwest of Addis Ababa. This is a very fertile area and is mostly known by its large coffee plantations.

Today, this SOS Children's Village is composed of 15 family houses, an SOS aunts' house (SOS mothers in training, who assist present SOS mothers in everyday jobs, and substitute them in case of illness or holidays) an administrative and service area, a multi-purpose hall, staff flats, an out-patients' clinic, a workshop and a large kindergarten which is also attended by the children from the surrounding area.

The Kindergarten consists of four group rooms, a playground and other rooms and offers space for about 200 children. When they are about 16 years old, the youth of SOS Children's Village Hawassa move into one of the two SOS Youth Facilities provided, awarding them a higher degree of responsibility as they are only supervised by one youth leader. SOS mothers, village directors and psychologists carefully prepare the youngsters for this significant step towards independence, to which roughly four years are assigned.

A holiday village with lake access was constructed to accommodate children from other Ethiopian SOS Children's Villages. Several hectares of the SOS Children's Village are used for predominantly subsistence agriculture.

720 SOS Children's Village and local pupils are taught in the SOS Hermann Gmeiner primary and secondary school adjacent to the SOS Children's Village. It consists of 16 classrooms, a computer lab, a library, two workshops, a multi-purpose hall and administrative units.

Since 1994, an SOS Day-care Centre is available for primarily single mothers' children in need. This prevents young children from remaining unsupervised while their mothers without income spend the day finding food. Roughly 100 children, many of whom were previously malnourished are currently cared for in the nursery, which is very appreciated by locals and the Kebele Administration, who praised this facility as a model institution.

An SOS Medical Centre was launched to guarantee medical assistance for locals and the SOS Children's Village community. Medical treatment is accompanied by information and preventive work on the sectors of diarrhoeic and tropical diseases, fungus infections and HIV/AIDS. The dedicated and successful work of the SOS Medical Centres and SOS Day-care Centres was documented on Ethiopian television.

Especially for children and adolescents with special needs, professional training is available at the SOS Vocational Training Centre. Lying on a plot of 100 hectares of land, it offers training in dairy, poultry and livestock farming and fruit and vegetable cultivation.