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

Ibarra is the capital of the Imbabura Province in northern Ecuador. Around 140,000 people live in this city, located about 70 kilometers from the country’s capital Quito. Poverty however, is still widespread: 27% of people in the province live in poverty. Women in Ibarra suffer even more, often being victim of physical or sexual violence. Furthermore, many Venezuelan refugees pass through, or decide to stay in, Ibarra.

Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ibarra.

Venezuelan refugees in Ecuador

Refugees face challenges

Since 2015, 1.2 million Venezuelan refugees have entered Ecuador. Most of them move on to other countries, but an estimated 500,000 refugees decide to stay in Ecuador. Many enter the country at the Colombian border, on foot, and Ibarra is one of the first Ecuadorian cities they pass. The Ecuadorian government is struggling to respond to all the urgent needs, like food and shelter; and the administrative needs, like access to social services. Not only do Venezuelans face challenges around employment, housing and legal status; they also suffer from xenophobia. Children suffer most from these harsh living situations and insecurity.

Of women have been victims of violence

Suffering from violence

Many women in Ecuador face violence: 40% of Ecuadorian women have been victims of physical or sexual violence, and 70% of women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Around 8% of all crimes in Ecuador happen in Imbabura, the province where Ibarra is located. 20% of these crimes are linked to sexual violence. The Ecuadorian president has vowed to eradicate gender-biased violence, but this will require a major push from the government. Children are most impacted by this violence, directly or indirectly.

Your support makes a difference for children in Ibarra

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
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Are supported on their journey from Venezuela
Having access to technology was really important for education during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, young people continue to use them – in this case they are learning new songs (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Ecuador).

How your support helps in Ibarra

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.
Supporting refugees
SOS Children’s Villages in Ecuador is supporting refugees from Venezuela. Around 500,000 Venezuelans live in Ecuador, and are in need of basic necessities like food and shelter. However, these are not the only challengest that worry Venezuelans. They often struggle with finding employment or receiving a legal status. SOS Children’s Villages supports these refugees wherever needed.
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.