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

Florida is a small administrative division in rural Uruguay with approximately 68,000 inhabitants. The city is known for agricultural activities, with many families living off cattle and sheep ranching, dairy farming and wine growing, which are key contributors to the economy. Despite Uruguay’s economic growth, Florida continues to suffer from high levels of poverty, especially child poverty. Many children leave school at a young age to work. In total, an estimated 60,000 children and young people in Uruguay are forced into child labour.

Since 1990, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Florida.

25 %
Of children in Florida are living in poverty

Children living in poverty

Children living in Uruguay are disproportionally affected by poverty. Around 25% of children in Florida are living in poverty. Further, rural families (which make up the poorest 20% of the population) tend to have the largest number of children. The labour markets in these areas were frail prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment rates rising from 8.3% in 2018 to 8.9% in 2019. The pandemic forced these families into taking extreme measures, and more children stopped their education to help contribute to the household.

Children and young people are working

Children at risk of exploitation

It is estimated that 60,000 children and young people are working. Increasing arrests of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation have shed light on a growing concern of commercial sexual exploitation in rural Uruguay. It is challenging to truly understand the extent of this child rights violation in Florida as reliable data on the worst forms of child labour are difficult to collect given the illegal nature of work. From the few reports collated by NGOs and media agencies, it is known that minors have resorted to sexual exploitation to gain income to support their families.

Your support makes a difference for children in Florida

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.
Attend our day-care centres
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children and young people spend a lot of time together and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Uruguay).

How your support helps in Florida

Providing quality education and day care
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 and day-care centres. 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. Some children live in different neighbourhoods of the city, alongside local families. 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.