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

Sonsonate, capital of the department of the same name, has a population of roughly 72,000 and is located in western El Salvador. The city is an active commercial centre and is surrounded by coffee plantations. But many here have to resort to working in the informal sector – selling merchandise or homemade food on the streets. This means longer working hours and less security, and it can have detrimental effects on family stability and the well-being of children.

Since 1972, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Sonsonate.

Of child labourers work in agriculture

Children living in poverty

In rural areas of El Salvador, children have traditionally helped with agricultural tasks, and they continue to do so in the coffee plantations around Sonsonate.  In 2020, 88,300 children between the ages of 5 and 17 were working across the country – more than 60% of them lived in rural communities and 34% didn’t attend school. The harvesting of coffee in particular involves dangerous tasks, and law enforcement agencies lack sufficient resources to enforce child labour laws. Child labour interferes with children’s education and their healthy physical and psychological development.

Loss for coffee industry due to climate change

Climate change

In a country already regularly affected by earthquakes, droughts, floods, hurricanes and volcano eruptions, climate change is adding to the existing hazards. In this tropical climate, it is estimated to significantly affect agricultural productivity, causing losses in cereal and sugar cane harvests. El Salvador will possibly be the country hit harder in the coffee sector than any other country in the world, with a loss of more than 35% of coffee-growing areas. It is the future of the local children which is at stake here, it is they who are threatened by a decrease of resources and economic opportunities later in life.

Your support makes a difference for children in Sonsonate

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
Cooking at home. We try to show children and young people how to cook basic meals – this way they can look after themselves when they are ready to live independently (photo: SOS Children’s Villages El Salvador).

How your support helps in Sonsonate

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.
Strengthening families and communities
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. Adults who seek our support can take part in our workshops and training, so that they can improve their employment situation.
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.