SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Uruguay).

Uruguay, located on the southeastern coast of South America, has a population of 3.4 million. About 80% of the population lives in urban areas, with the majority living close to, or in, the capital city, Montevideo. It is one of the few countries in South America where the entire population has access to clean water. Over the last few years, heavy rainfalls and tornados have caused serious flooding in several areas across the country, particularly rural areas. This has forced families to evacuate their homes, and damaged basic infrastructure such as water pipes, sewage systems and power lines.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Uruguay since 1959.

Children are at risk

Although Uruguay boasts high literacy rates, a result of access to free primary through to university education, dropout levels remain significant at 37%. Most children and young people drop out of high schools. The main reasons why children and young people drop out include the family structure where either a parent is absent and the child must fulfil a breadwinner/ caregiver role, or the child comes from a large family where there are insufficient resources.
Of Uruguay’s children are forced to work

Child labour

Many young children drop out of school and can be found working. Around 8% of children are forced to work in Uruguay. Their working conditions are in unhygienic environments, and often cause great risks to their health. The child labour laws that are in place in Uruguay have set certain parameters in place, such as the minimum age for employment at 15 years. However, more needs to be done to protect and prevent young children from seeking out work for survival or to assist their families.

1 in 6
Young adults are unemployed

Youth unemployment

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth unemployment levels were 5 times higher than for adults in the labour market. Witnessing these growing unemployment rates during the pandemic, among educated young adults, is influencing children to believe formal education as insufficient to secure a job. With those employed, nearly 48% identified that their jobs did not provide social security. The quality of jobs available to young adults must be improved to change the attitudes of young learners.

Of new HIV cases among youths from drug use

Increase in HIV cases

Uruguay is facing an increase in HIV rates. The prevalence of HIV has grown from 0.2% in 2001 to 0.4% in 2020, growing at an average annual rate of 4.39%. Around 25% of new cases are caused by injected drug use, with almost half of these reported among young adults (15-24 years). In addition, HIV infections among pregnant women and newborns are worryingly high in Uruguay in comparison to other South American countries.

Together we can make a difference for children in Uruguay

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Attend our kindergartens
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages works to protect the rights and privacy of children. As you may notice, we do not show any identifiable photos of children in general information about Uruguay. This is because we have limited permission from the children and/or their legal guardians (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Uruguay).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and train parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting. .
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives