Since the official transfer of the capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1991, the city of Abuja and its surrounding areas have grown accordingly, with the population of the Federal Capital Territory having exceeded seven million.
As it is an important political and commercial centre, Abuja attracts an ever increasing number of migrant workers from the country's rural areas, who hope to improve their own and their families' livelihoods.
However, their hopes are often shattered, as most of the state's population cannot even afford the rent in Abuja and is forced to live in poverty either in one of the five poorly equipped satellite towns around Abuja or in shanty towns encircling the city.
In order to meet the needs of and provide a home to the homeless and disadvantaged children in the Federal Capital Territory, the construction of the SOS Children's Village Gwagwalada (Abuja), including a SOS Kindergarten, a SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and a SOS Social Centre, was decided by SOS Kinderdorf International. In autumn 2007, the SOS Children's Village Gwagwalada was officially opened.
The SOS Children's Village Gwagwalada comprises a total of 12 family houses, a Village Director's house, accommodation for SOS aunts (SOS aunts take care of the children when SOS mothers are on leave), a guest house, a multi-purpose hall, a service- and administration area and sports grounds.
The SOS Kindergarten includes three classrooms and ancillary rooms and accommodates 65 children from the SOS Children's Village and its surroundings.
Since educational facilities in Abuja are poor, an SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School was annexed to the SOS Children's Village. The school provides some 210 children from the SOS Children's Village and its neighbourhood with an education. It includes six classrooms, administration and ancillary rooms.
The numbers of health centres and hospitals in the area are inadequate to meet the needs of the majority of the territory's ever increasing population. Therefore, an SOS Socio Medical centre was planned and built in the village.
Primary health care and community outreach programmes, offering services related to HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), as well as adult literacy and micro-finance, have been offered to approximately 2,000 beneficiaries annually. The centre includes classrooms, counselling rooms, workshops, a clinic, administration and ancillary rooms.