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

Cartagena borders the Caribbean Sea and is the capital of the department of Bolívar, with a population of one million. There is economic growth in the area due to industry and tourism. However, the economic inequality seen throughout the country is clearly evident in a city like Cartagena. Here, poor housing conditions, malnutrition and lack of medical care characterize the daily lives of thousands of children.

Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cartagena.

Of children die under the age of 5

Lack of health care

In 2020, 9,621 Colombian children died before reaching their fifth birthday – a number that reflects the families’ lack of access to basic health care, such as vaccination, medical treatment of infectious diseases and suitable nutrition. Most under-five deaths are caused by diseases that are preventable or treatable with proven, cost-effective interventions. The vast majority of those children’s deaths globally are due to infectious diseases and neonatal complications.

Of children are engaged in child labour

Children are at risk

In Colombia, 7% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 are forced to work. Some of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and illegal activities, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Poverty and social exclusion often limit the ability of children and young adults to go to school to escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

Your support makes a difference for children in Cartagena

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.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children and young people raising awareness in the local community (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Colombia).

How your support helps in Cartagena

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. Children live in different neighbourhoods in the city, alongside local families. We also support foster families. 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.