SOS Children's Village Waterfalls

Waterfalls is a suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, and is located in the east of the country.

Harare is quite a modern city with a university and numerous technical colleges.

SOS Children's Village Waterfalls was built on a 36 hectares plot of land surrounded by beautiful blue gum trees. It has been operational since 1989 and has since become a new home to many orphaned, abandoned and neglected children.

SOS Children's Village Waterfalls comprises fifteen family houses, a multi-purpose hall, an administration area, a workshop and a house for the village director. Up to 180 children can find a new home in the fifteen family houses and each family has its own garden to grow fruits and vegetables.

Besides, a house for retired SOS mothers was established, where they can stay after retirement and act as grandmothers for the children.

The SOS Kindergarten on the same premises has a capacity to take in up to 110 children and consists of five group rooms and several ancillary rooms.

Children from both the SOS Children's Village and the local community attend the SOS Kindergarten together, which greatly supports their integration and mutual understanding. Various activities, such as computer lessons, traditional dance, and gymnastics are offered to the children.

Since 1989, the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School has been offering primary school education to up to 840 pupils per school year.

The primary school comprises 22 classrooms, computer labs, a multi-purpose hall, a library and a sports field. In order to meet the needs of the growing number of youths who had outgrown the SOS Children's Village, an SOS Youth Facility was established in 1998, where up to 100 youths can stay during higher education or further training and prepare themselves for an independent life.

Since 2002, family strengthening programmes have been co-ordinated, offering access to essential services for children’s development (eg. educational, nutritional and health support, social skills) and supporting families to protect and care for their children.

The programmes also aim at linking families with income generating activities and offers help to improve the parents’ parenting skills. Moreover, HIV/AIDS affected families are offered support to improve their housing and their living conditions.

Those accepted onto the family strengthening programmes are mainly children who have lost both parents and now live with grandparents, older siblings or other relatives, as well as those whose parents are seriously ill.

The long-term goal of this programme is to develop within the population and authorities and organisations on the ground proper consciousness of the AIDS problem, so that, in the future, they can take the support measures on their own. This programme reaches out to up to 3,000 children a year.