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

Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay Province, in the south of Ecuador. Around 400,000 people live in this city, which is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site for its many historical buildings. Cuenca also has one of the lowest poverty rates in Ecuador, at 12%. Nonetheless, many Ecuadorians from this area also migrate within the country or even abroad, to provide for their families. This leaves many children in precarious situations at home.

Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cuenca.

Of women have experienced violence

Gender-based violence

Around 40% of Ecuadorian women have been victim of physical or sexual violence, and 70% of women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Cuenca is known to be one of the cities with the least crime in Ecuador. The only crime that persists in the city, is violence against women. More than 200 feminicides happen in the city each year. 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.

2 Million
Ecuadorians live abroad

Migration for better opportunities

Ecuador is a country of origin and destination for migrants, and the largest recipient of persons in search of international protection and asylum seekers in Latin America. Around 2 million Ecuadoreans live abroad. Many parents have decided that the only way to provide for their families is to move elsewhere, either to another area of Ecuador or abroad. A large number of the migrants are from Cuenca. The money they send back can pay for many basic needs, but also creates other difficulties. Children often live with just one parent, or more commonly, are left in the care of grandparents, aunts or uncles.

Your support makes a difference for children in Cuenca

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
Concentrating hard on drawing and colouring in – children in our care are encouraged to be creative (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Ecuador).

How your support helps in Cuenca

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 from Venezuela
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 challenges 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. Many children live in different neighourhoods in town, alongside other 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.