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

45 kilometres outside Medellín, in the Antioquia department, Rionegro stands at 2,130 metres above sea level. Well-connected to Medellín, it has a population of 128,000 inhabitants. In Antioquia, tens of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the decades of armed conflict between guerrilla groups, paramilitary forces and the military. Many children and young people are growing up without parental care, or in poverty.

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

Of the population lives below the poverty line

Many families lack food

After decades of armed conflict, social instability and violence, almost half of the population in the Antioquia region lives below the poverty line. Here, the unemployment rate is high and about half of the workforce is earning a living in the informal sector. And while poverty is concentrated in the rural areas that are sparsely populated, more than 50% of the population in the Medellin metropolitan area is living in poverty and nearly 60% works in the informal labour market or is underemployed.

Of rural young people attend higher education

Children missing out on an education

In rural areas around Rionegro and throughout Colombia, only 9% of 18- to 22-year-olds attend high school. In urban areas, the figure is as high as 33 percent. In fact, Colombians of indigenous descent receive an average of two years less schooling than others. Without secondary education, however, young people will not acquire the skills necessary to find adequate employment. Over time, this will prevent them from providing a better life for themselves and their families.

Your support makes a difference for children in Rionegro

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
Playing football together – children growing up in our care form bonds that often last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Colombia).

How your support helps in Rionegro

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.