San Jerónimo

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

San Jerónimo is a town and municipality in the Baja Verapaz department. It is located in the San Jerónimo Valley with a population of 25,459. San Jerónimo is one of Guatemala’s municipalities with the highest production of sugar and sweetener. Guatemala has the lowest levels of literacy (70%) in Latin America. The illiteracy rate is even higher in rural areas, especially for girls and women and indigenous communities. Although education is free, it is out of reach for many households because they cannot afford to buy school materials and uniforms.

Since 2001, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in San Jerónimo.

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Children is stunted in Baja Verapaz


Baja Verapaz, where San Jerónimo is located, is one of the four regions in Guatemala where most children in rural communities are malnourished. The region is located in the arid corridor and is increasingly affected by droughts related to climate change. Crops are destroyed by prolonged droughts, increasing the number of malnourished children. When crops are destroyed, the income of the families is affected. They are therefore unable to buy food and are forced to eat less, or eat food which is cheaper but not as rich in nutrients.

Of women are married before age 18

Child marriage

In Guatemala, 30% of girls are married before they are 18 years old, and 6% before they are 15 years old. Child marriages are more common in rural areas than in urban areas. Children who grow up in difficult family circumstances tend to be most at risk of child marriage. Often, children who are married have to drop out of school to take care of the household, making it very difficult to escape the cycle of poverty. Other risks, such as sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies, also have a severe impact on the mental and physical health of girls and young women.

Your support makes a difference for children in San Jerónimo

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.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children playing games together. SOS Children's Villages supports families in providing an environment where their children can develop and flourish (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Guatemala).

How your support helps in San Jerónimo

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 training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to 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.