Cali has the third highest population in Colombia, and is often know as the 'capital of salsa'. The city has seen remarkable economic growth over recent years and is now home to the Colombian headquarters of a number of multinational companies.
However, many have not benefitted from this economic growth, and large portions of the population continue to live in extremely challenging circumstances. Overcoming this inequality will be a key challenge for the city over the coming years.
Families left behind
Many families in Cali have an extremely challenging life and this has a severe knock on effects on their children's life chances. There is a significant racial element in this poverty, as Afro-Colombian families disproportionately find themselves living in poverty.
The impact of poverty on children's lives is clear, with 35,000 not going to school on a regular basis and an estimated 43,000 working in the streets at very young ages. This lack of education severely hampers their future opportunities and traps them in a vicious cycle of poverty that it is difficult to escape.
The impact of conflict
The drug trade and civil war have shaped people's lives for many years now. Conflict has displaced thousands of families from rural communities, as they are forced to flee for their own safety. Most have fled to urban areas like Cali, but this is not the end of their struggles.
Despite some government support, these families often have problems fitting into urban society and this often means that their children miss out on education and other basic needs. Giving these displaced families the tools to overcome the challenges they face will be essential to ensuring the futures of thousands of children.
What do SOS Children's Villages do to help?
We opened our SOS Children's Village in Cali in 2009, and it is the 500th village in the world. We continue to support the people of Cali to help them and their children achieve everything they are capable of in the future.
Fragile families supported
Our family strengthening programme targets families that are at risk of breaking down and helps them to reinforce parental support for their children. We offer advice and practical assistance that helps families stay together and offer children the care that they need in their early years.
We particularly focus on helping young single mothers to provide for their children without neglecting their emotional psychological needs. One example of how we do this is by providing a day care centre where they can leave their children whilst as work, so that mothers can earn and children get the care they need.
New loving homes
Children who can no longer stay with their parents can find a home with one of 14 SOS families. Here, they are cared for by their SOS mothers and can live together with their brothers and sisters.
The support and care they receive here ensures that even the most disadvantaged children get the right start in life, and are able to achieve their full potential.
Vulnerable children and families in Cali benefit from our range of services in the area. You can support them to have flourishing lives by sponsoring a child today.