Child from Oruro, Bolivia

Oruro is a former silver and tin boom town. Since the minerals ran out in the mines in the 1960's, the city has gone into decline. 

Poor rural inhabitants still migrate there for a better life but find nothing and move on. Its population is in flux.

The stopover town

Typically, Oruro has 235,000 residents, but this changes as people move in to try a new life and rapidly move on having found nothing in the way of income. Oruro used to be the richest city in Bolivia, with silver and tin mines bringing money in by the bucket load. Those mines were spent by the 1960's and the city has been in decline ever since.

Even while a boom-town, the city's population was in flux. People moved in to make their fortune and moved out if they had not, or made their wealth and moved on. The same applies today - rural immigrants arrive in search of a better life and, not achieving this, move on to other cities such as La Paz or El Alto. Such migration is detrimental to the stability of communities, as few get to know each other well and there isn't much cohesion.

Children migrate on their own

Poverty rates are high - around 46% people live on less than $1 a day. Around a third of children under 5 are malnourished as parents cannot afford to give them the diet they need. Often children are sent to work to help support their families and do not get basic education.

It is common for many children to migrate to the city from rural areas on their own to begin life afresh at a very early age. They become vulnerable to the dangers and privations of city life. These children have little hope of formal employment.

Even so, with government policy being to educate as many as possible, Oruro was recently declared the first city in the country to have eradicated illiteracy. This means much better job prospects as the indigenous Ayamara and Quechua people have the ability to read and write in the official national language, Spanish.

How we support the community in Oruro

Child sponsorship Oruro, BoliviaSOS Children's Villages run social services, health centres, SOS families and an SOS youth programme in Oruro. The social centres offer holistic community programmes to aid families in staying together. The centres offer day care and a child-minding programme which allow parents to go to work with their children in a safe environment.

There is an SOS medical centre which is open to the community, an essential role where healthcare is expensive and unobtainable to the most in need.

SOS Children's Village Oruro

For children that cannot live with their families, they can live in our Children's Village in an SOS family, and be cared for by SOS Mothers. Children with us attend school in the community, and play a part in community events.

As they grow up, young adults in our care are offered places in the SOS youth programme. This allows them to pursue further education or training while living in shared accommodation in Oruro. Given support by qualified counsellors, they have opportunities that they may have missed in life without our intervention.

Our Children's Village gives hope to children who have lost everything. Will you help them to have a better life by sponsoring a child today? 


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