Sponsor a child in Mexico
Violence and widespread rural poverty make Mexico a dangerous place to grow up for many children. Human traffickers and street gangs prey on lone children. On average, two children under 14 have been killed every day for over a quarter of a century. SOS Children have helped children in Mexico since 1971.
You can help our work by sponsoring an orphaned or abandoned child with SOS Children:Sponsor a child in Mexico
Violence on the rise
Mexico is a country racked by violence. In the border regions to the north, the Mexican mafia prey on people trying to escape Latin America for a better life in the US, holding migrants for ransom as they approach the border. Wealth inequality means that while in northern states development is close to European levels, further south and in rural parts, many people live in shanty towns where access to clean water and decent sanitation are limited. Nationally, illiteracy is around 6%, but of the nation's indigenous population, only half of women can read and write.
A childhood marked by poverty
Children affected by poverty lose out on opportunities early. Though national school enrolment is 98%, thousands of poorer children do not attend school. Though official figures are hard to come by, over two million children are thought to be without their parents. HIV/AIDS, drug-related violence and death in childbirth are just some of the factors to blame. Lone children are vulnerable to exploitation, either by traffickers or street gangs. At home, domestic violence is common and can have a profound impact on a child's life.
Our Work in Mexico
Our first Children's Village in Mexico opened in 1971, and since then we have continued to grow. Now, we have eight sites across the country, where we help children from the Village as well as families from the local community.
We began working in Mexico in 1971 when the first SOS Children’s Village was built in Mexico City in the La Villa de Guadalupe district, close to the famous Basilica de Guadalupe. In addition to a number of family houses, it has two SOS Youth Homes where older children live while they are studying and taking their first guided steps towards independence. A sports field for football, basketball and volleyball is a meeting point for children from the Village and their friends from the neighbourhood. Our Mexico City Village also offers workshops on pottery, silkscreen printing and painting.
Our second Mexican Village was built on the Yucatan Peninsula in the small town of Hampolol, a few from the provincial capital of Campeche in what is one of the poorest and hottest regions in Mexico. SOS Hampolol is five minutes’ walk from the centre of the town and only fifteen minutes from the coast. There is a group of family houses as well as a youth home. All the children attend local nurseries and schools.
In 1985, a major earthquake in Mexico City killed thousands and left nearly 30,000 homeless. Following an emergency relief programme, we built SOS Huehuetoca near Mexico City. Alongside a number of family houses, it also has an education support classroom, an auditorium, and a multi-purpose hall with library.
Tehuacán is a small town south-east of Mexico City, and the Children's Village is in the nearby village of Coapan. Along with several family houses and an SOS Youth Home, there is a day care centre which offers a wide range of services to disadvantaged families in the neighbourhood including child care, counselling and job training. Carpentry and dressmaking skills are taught in the vocational training workshops. Two social centres provide community support to over 600 people.
Our fifth Mexican Village was set up in the town of Tijuana, close to the US border and San Diego, California. Many people from the south of Mexico have moved there, hoping to find a good job and emigrate to the United States, a risk move and usually illegal. Many of them become poor and destitute. As a result of the terrible social and economic conditions in the area, many children are abandoned, mistreated and abused. There are a number of family homes at the Village in Tijuana, as well as a vegetable garden and playing field.
The construction of SOS Children's Village Comitán in Chiapas in southern Mexico followed a three-year SOS Emergency Relief Programme in Comitán after the 1994 anti-government uprising, which led to many families having to flee their homes. The SOS Social Centre runs a day care centre where it has capacity for well over a hundred babies from the Village and the local community. The social centre also helps the local community by providing various types of family support, for example by organizing child minding programmes or special workshops for parents.
SOS Children’s Village Tuxtla Gutiérrez is in the south and focuses on children with special needs. The social centre comprises a medical treatment centre, four training workshops, eight houses for outpatient treatment and offers therapy to children with special needs. Meanwhile, training workshops help children develop their practical skills through pottery, painting and gardening, all depending on their individual needs.
The newest Village in Mexico opened in Morelia in 2006 and offers all our major facilities along with a football pitch where budding soccer players can practice their game.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Mexico: Little Alejandro
In 2004, we came across a six-month-old baby called Alejandra. She was born a perfectly healthy baby, but she had been beaten so badly by her parents that she sustained massive head injuries. As a result, it looked unlikely that she would ever walk or talk.
Alejandra came to live at SOS Children’s Village Tuxtla Gutierrez, which cares for children with special needs, soon after her first birthday. When she arrived, she was not able to move an inch, not a single part of her body; her gaze was searing, her eyes reflected total desolation.
Today, Alejandra is able to move her arms and play on her bed. Every day her SOS mother Maria carries Alejandra to the SOS Therapy Centre in the town. The love she receives from her SOS family has helped Alejandra eat better, sit up by herself and achieve progress. And she looks happy - that is the most important thing.
Aldeas Infantiles SOS México, I.A.P.
Gustavo A Madero
CP 07051 Meixco DF
Tel: +52/55/5336 0809, +52/55/5250 2589, +52/55/5203 6989