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

Maracaíbo is in north-western Venezuela and is the capital of Zulia state, which is also the oil metropolis of Venezuela. It is the second-largest city after the national capital, Caracas. The wider metropolitan area population of Maracaíbo is 2.3 million, and has been growing at a rate of 1-2% annually. Maracaíbo is also home to Lake Maracaíbo, the largest lake in South America. The lake is now unfortunately, polluted from leaking oil.

Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Maracaibo.

Of families are living in poverty in Venezuela

Children living in poverty

In Venezuela, 51% of families are living in poverty. An erratic oil economy has left families without basic needs In Maracaíbo, soaring inflation rates has left families without access to basic needs such as safe drinking water, food, electricity and medicine. There a shortage of all these goods, some of which can be obtained on the black market. But the prices are not affordable for many families who have a low income. These circumstances force children to abandon school to find work to help pull together an income for their families. These circumstances have trapped children in a persistent poverty cycle.

Is the current crime rate

Children exposed to crime

The city of Maracaíbo has one of the highest rates of crime in Venezuela. Crime often involves breaking the law to get basic needs that are in short supply. Circumstances are so dire that even medical equipment for fundamental medical needs is at risk of being stolen. Organized crime activities have expanded to involve schooling children to facilitate narcotics operations across the country. Forced recruitment, as well as the appeal of drug money, means vulnerable children engage in the criminal activities.

Your support makes a difference for children in Maracaibo

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
Can attend our kindergartens
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Cooking together is part of everyday life. (Photo: SOS Children’s Villages Venezuela).

How your support helps in Maracaibo

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.
Providing quality education
In areas 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, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary 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.