Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and one Latin America's biggest cities. It is home to over 7.5 million people, and this population is quite young, with around 31% below the age of 18, and contains a large number of displaced people.
Despite improvements in infrastructure and provision for the poor, many are still blighted by poverty and limited access to public services. The longer this continues the more damaging the effect it has on children's lives will be.
40% of Colombia's wealth is owned by 7%, and this is demonstrable of the severe inequality that exists even today. Worryingly, the levels of malnourishment in children under the age of 5 is higher than in any of Latin Americas other most developed cities, and inequality effects children in other ways as well.
Poor parents are often dependent on the income that can be earned through their child's labour, and this often leads to these children dropping out of education. Every year not in education as a child reduces the income they earn as an adult by 20%, so ensuring children stay in school is essential for finding a long term solution to inequality.
Orphans have a particularly hard life and this effects their ability to fulfil their full potential. Today, about 2,000 live on the street and make a living selling merchandise or through petty crime. There is widespread drug abuse amongst these children and they are very unlikely to attend school.
This places them at particular risk of living in poverty and discrimination in the future. If they do not receive help and support now they will have little chance of accomplishing everything they are capable of.
What does SOS Children's Villages do?
We started working in Bogotá in 1971. Today, we continue to support families and children to overcome the challenges they are faced with on a daily basis.
Support for local families
Through our family strengthening programme we offer support and advice to help build stronger ties between parents and their children. These ties are at the heart of creating a supportive home and are the basis for children's future successes.
We also offer practical support such as a day care centre for working parents and medical help. These services strengthen family stability and create the best possible start for children. Collaborating with families in this way will ensure that these solutions will endure long into the future.
A nurturing home for orphaned children
In our SOS Children's Village Bogotá there are nearly 20 SOS families, caring for over 170 children who lack parental support. Here, they can live with their sisters and brothers, and are given all the care and affection they need by their SOS mother.
Once young people from SOS families are old enough, they often move into the shared accommodation that is offered by the SOS youth programme. The qualified staff who work in the programme help them to develop the skills and contacts that they will draw on for the rest of their lives, and will help them navigate life as an independent adult.
From when they arrive in our Children's Villages as babies, through childhood and adolescence, we provide vulnerable children in Bogotá with all the support they need to flourish. Will you help them as they grow up, and become a child sponsor today?