Mzuzu, capital of Malawi's Northern Region, is the centre of an agricultural region and the third largest city in the country; it is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountains.
The SOS Children's Village was built on an eight hectares plot of land about three kilometres from the city centre which was given by the government free of charge. The official opening ceremony took place on 2 October 2002 in the presence of numerous guests of honour.
SOS Children's Village Mzuzu comprises 15 family houses for up to 150 children, houses for the village director and the SOS aunts (who support the SOS mothers and take care of the children when the mothers are on leave), an administration building and a multi-purpose hall.
The SOS kindergarten consists of three classes for up to 90 children and a playground. Since 2004, an SOS Social Centre has been coordinating an AIDS outreach programme in the vicinity.
This family strengthening programme reaches out to up to 2,000 people per year and offers access to essential services for children’s development (eg. educational, nutritional and health support, social skills) and supports families to protect and care for their children. The programme also aims at linking families with income generating activities and offers help to improve the parents’ parenting skills.
An SOS Hermann Gmeiner School was put into operation in January 2005. It consists of eight classrooms, three rooms for needlecraft, carpentry and special education, a library and a sports field and offers primary school education to up to 320 pupils.