There are no accurate figures available on how many orphans there are in Cape Verde. However, it was because of the difficult living situation of the islands' orphaned and abandoned children that SOS Children's Villages decided to implement Hermann Gmeiner's concept there. Although the government of Cape Verde has signed a number of laws aiming to protect the country's children from engaging in the worst forms of child labour, many continue to suffer in inadequate working environments. Hundreds of young boys are engaged in agricultural activities where they are forced to work with dangerous machinery and are exposed to pesticides. According to reports, numerous children work as domestic servants, street vendors and car washers at traffic lights. Quite often, children have to work in order to financially assist their families. Many of them miss out on a decent education. However, the Cape Verdean government has launched a social programme in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
Children from our family strengthening programme enjoy the chance to play (photo: C. Ladavicius).