Bissau Guinea, with its population of 1.5 million, suffered ongoing political instability following its declaration of independence from Portugal in 1974 and the civil war of the 1990s left it as one of the poorest countries in the world, massively in debt and reliant on foreign aid to prevent its total collapse as a nation state. Most of its population is engaged in subsistence farming of rice and corn and those employed by the state frequently find their wages unpaid. Bissau Guinea is in 176th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country.
Its a sobering fact that one out of every five children living in Guinea Bissau will not reach their fifth birthday, one of the highest mortality rates for the under fives in the world; a further one in five is malnourished and over half live in poverty, more so in rural areas. A child in Guinea Bissau can expect to live to just 47 years and the majority of the population is illiterate, with just over 27% of females being able to read and write, reflecting the fact that barely 6% of all children in Guinea Bissau attend secondary school preferring or needing to work instead to supplement already meagre family incomes in a country where over half live the population on 60p or less a day. Recent statistics suggest half of all children ages 5-14yrs work. Primary education attendance is 'better' at 45.9% and 38.9% for boys and girls respectively. Of the 769,000 child population in Guinea Bissau, just 9% living in rural areas have improved sanitation and whilst water access is not an issue during the rainy season, at other times rivers and boreholes run dry.
There are 6000 AIDS orphans in the country (with1500 infected themselves) out of a total child orphan population of 110,000 ~ one in seven children. Trafficking of children is also a major concern in Guinea Bissau with children being sold by poor families often to work in Senegal often as farm labourers or in domestic servitude. Whilst the government has pledged to crack down on this practise their commitment has often been little more than passing aid to NGOs to help victims rather than any proactive stance. You can help when you sponsor a child in Guinea Bissau where child sponsor programs include working with families towards sustainable farming, care of orphans and abandoned children, developing safe water supplies as well as promoting education and access to health care.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children by sponsoring a child.
With Plan you form a unique connection with a named child and their family in Guinea Bissau.
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