San Miguel

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

In eastern El Salvador, San Miguel has a population of 518,000 inhabitants. It is an important economic centre in the region in terms of agriculture and industry. Its growing service sector is partly supported by the money sent by the hundreds of thousands of migrants who live abroad. But high levels of poverty remain, and the safety, health and education of children must be ensured so that they can look forward to a brighter future.

Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in San Miguel.

Of the population lives in poverty

Children living in poverty

The government of El Salvador dollarized the economy in 2001, partly because of the large amount of remittances received from workers living abroad. But today, 36% of the population continues to live in poverty. Families living in poverty do not have enough money to meet their basic needs and cannot guarantee proper housing, health care and nutrition for their children. The COVID-19 pandemic brought additional challenges, as many people lost their jobs. Although the situation did improve, rising inflation and cost of living meant that many families continued to struggle.

Children are forced to work

Children engaged in child labour

In San Miguel, a region where agriculture is key to the local economy, it is customary for children to accompany their parents to work in the fields. But that intense work can hinder their physical and intellectual development. Across the country, an estimated 88,300 children between the ages of 5 and 17 are working. 60% of those child labourers live in rural communities and, crucially, 34% do not attend school. Without accessing education, children and young people cannot hope to escape the cycle of poverty later on in life.

Your support makes a difference for children in San Miguel

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 get support to stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Hand in hand! It is always good to have support, especially during new activities and experiences (photo: SOS Children’s Villages El Salvador).

How your support helps in San Miguel

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.