SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia).

In southern Bolivia, next to the border with Argentina, Tarija has a population of 234,000. In contrast to the cold of the Altiplano and the humid heat of the Amazon basin, its climate is semi-arid with generally mild temperatures. The conditions are ideal to grow sugar cane, fruits, and wine grapes in the hilly surroundings of the town. Tarija is a flourishing wine-growing region, but socio-economic inequalities remain striking here, particularly among children.

Since 1992, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tarija.

Of young people don’t go onto secondary school

Yound people need support

It's the lowest national average: in Tarija, only 92% of the young people who’ve attended primary school move on to study in lower secondary school. That number is as high as 98% in the eastern region of Oruro, for example. The fact that so many young people drop out of education reflects the educational challenges Tarija is facing. That’s often because children have to work to contribute to the family income, which leaves them no time to study or sleep sufficiently, eventually causing them to give up their education altogether.

Of children are forced to work

Child labour

Around 14% of Bolivian children aged 5 to 17 years old are trapped in child labour – often out of economic necessity. In the Tarija area, where agriculture is the predominant industry, the sugar cane and Brazil nut harvest seasons attract over 3,000 internal migrants. This movement of population increases the vulnerability of the workers – many of them children – to forced labour and human trafficking. These families need support so that children can be safe and healthy. Going to school and receiving further training is key for them to learn professional skills and live a successful life later on.

Your support makes a difference for children in Tarija

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
At a painting workshop. Children are encouraged to explore their creativity in their free time (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia).

How your support helps in Tarija

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.