Located just 10 kilometres from the city of Cochabamba at an altitude of 2,649 metres above sea level, Tiquipaya is a town in central Bolivia with a population of 54,000.
Over the past decades, the indigenous communities of Tiquipaya have been joined by a steady influx of migrants. Following the closing of mines in rural areas, migrant families arrived in search of work and a better life.
But this rapid urbanization has led to severe overcrowding, poor urban infrastructure, and visible environmental problems. Children and young people growing up with these challenges need extra support.
Since 1974, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cochabamba-Tiquipaya.
Bolivia is the second most vulnerable country to climate change in South America – and the second least prepared. In the Andes mountain range, global warming has already generated an average temperature raise of 1 to 2.5°C since the 1970s.
This climate evolution directly affects the populations living at high altitude, like Tiquipaya. Across the country, more than 2.1 million children and adolescents live in places at high risk of suffering floods, and more than 600,000 in places exposed to droughts. Those changes in the natural system can compromise the development, well-being, and survival of local populations, particularly children.
Because many migrants are unable to find formal work when they arrive in their new hometown, like Tiquipaya, the children are often forced to work to improve the family’s income.
Across the country, 287,000 children aged between 7 and 14 are involved in child labour – and only 15 per cent of them can attend school in parallel. These working children are deprived of a proper education and are exposed to the dangers of working environments. Indigenous children are particularly vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour.