Pedra Bonita

Portrait of two girls, BrazilOne of the biggest cities in Brazil, Rio has social problems we work hard to change by looking after its most vulnerable inhabitants - the children.

SOS Children's Village Pedra Bonita in Rio de Janeiro is one of two Villages we run in this deeply divided city.

Residents struggle to make a living wage

A bustling urban metropolis of 6.3 million, Rio is a magnet for tourists and industry alike. As well as the wealth in the city it is bedevilled by social problems due to the extreme poverty so many residents live in.

In search of a cut of the good money and great lifestyles to be had in Rio, migrants flock to the city from the countryside. In many cases people must start from the bottom which is a very low base compared to the well paid jobs and comfortable lifestyle people the world over think of when they imagine Rio de Janeiro.

Unplanned settlements called favelas sit in between areas of high class apartments and around the hillsides that surround the city. Favelas have their own social problems - little or no public amenities, substance misuse and child abuse, and one of the highest murder rates in South America.

Child labour is commonplace in Rio de Janeiro, as families send their children to work to provide a second income for the family, or in cases where a child has left home at an early age and works to survive.

Violence ends some young peoples' lives and wrecks opportunities for others

In the run up to the World Cup and the Olympics, authorities have made a concerted effort to deal with the high murder rate of the city. Though overall rates have declined, the proportion of young people between 15-24 that are killed has increased.

These young people are disproportionately uneducated and in casual jobs. One of the best ways to intervene in this problem is by helping get children educated and into better paid jobs so they do not live such precarious and dangerous lifestyles, falling into substance misuse and a life of crime.

Our role in helping the people of Pedra Bonita

Child from Jacarepagua, Brazil

Early intervention in a child's issues frequently diverts them from a dangerous course which is brought about by merely trying to survive on the mean streets of Rio. SOS Children's Village Pedra Bonita was the second village we set up in Rio de Janeiro. This Village focuses on children who are unable to live with their parents - our other Village in Jacarepagua is far larger and deals with the social issues found across the city.

In our Children's Village, there are several SOS families who look after up to 99 children at any one time. These children are cared for in a family environment with an SOS Mother, brothers and sisters. Whilst living with us, children attend school and play a part in community life.

As children grow up they are able to move to our SOS youth programme which enables them to live semi-independently in shared accommodation while attending further education or vocational training. As they get older, the young people are given advice as to how to make the right decisions that come with the responsibilities of adulthood, by qualified youth counsellors.

At the moment, we are only able to accept regular donations and Village sponsorships for our work in Brazil, because all of our children are fully sponsored.

If you would like to sponsor a child, you may do so in other Central and South America countries and other continents around the world.

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Did you know? In Pakistan, after the Kashmir earthquake, SOS Children was invited by the government to care for all unaccompanied children from the disaster.