Children at Arica, ChileArica sits on the Peruvian border. The port city relies on the flourishing agriculture that comes from the nearby Azapa Valley - mostly harvests of olives and fruit. 

Economic development has spread to some in the city but thousands of others are left in society's margins.

A side of Arica that tourists rarely seen

Almost 7,000 households in the city live below the poverty line and lack basic essentials like heat and running water. These neighbourhoods have the highest crime rates in all of Chile. 

Due to the improving economic situation in Chile and Arica - helped in part due to its border location - the city is a popular destination for migrants from other regions and countries, but these immigrants often find that reality is not what they envisioned. Many end up living in shacks and shanty towns around the city, existing in unstable economic situations and suffering from mental health issues due to the stress of their living conditions.

Youths caught up in drug crime

Arica's border location has resulted in some economic advantages but it has also resulted in the creation of some great dangers. Drug trafficking is a huge problem and while many tonnes of narcotics are confiscated by police every year, many also get through to the population.  Drug consumption is high among younger people and marijuana, cocaine are popular. 

Drug violence in the area is high and child trafficking is rooted in the city, despite the best preventative efforts of the Chilean and Peruvian governments and various non-government organizations. Youths often grow up in conflict-wrought households and are at risk of becoming involved in criminal activities, gang associations or substance abuse.

How SOS Children's Villages helps in Arica

Children from Arica in ChileSOS Children's Villages began work in Arica in 1988. We support local families in the region through our community outreach programmes. This includes healthcare and medical assistance to those who cannot otherwise afford it. The SOS Social Centre holds events and workshops on children's rights, IT and other subjects, depending on the community's needs.

In our Children's Village, we care for children with no-one else. Many have been orphaned or abandoned. Here they are provided with a loving home with SOS brothers and sisters, and cared for by an SOS Mother. These children live in SOS families and still attend local schools and involved in the community. 

When these children grow old enough to leave their families and receive a more advanced education, they move from their SOS families and attend the SOS youth programme.  Qualified teachers and counsellors educate the young adults, teaching them technical vocational skills and preparing them for a bright and independent future.

Did you know that when you sponsor a child in Arica, you'll receive regular updates and be able to watch them grow and flourish? Change a young life today.


SOS Children has been working for Africa's children to help orphans since 1971.