Tres Ríos, San José
Large gap between rich and poor
The Costa Rican government has significantly reduced extreme poverty over the decades. However, there is still a long way to go. Most of the wealth created in the economy remains among the affluent while thousands of families live in shanty towns - which are often tantalisingly close to housing developments of the rich.
10% of children between the ages of five and 17 work for a living. 44% of these children drop out of school before graduating. Children who work from an early age cannot meet their academic potential, and this seriously impacts on their chances of breaking out from them cycle of poverty.
Social problems hamper life chances
As well as having to live without proper sanitation or running water, there are often social problems that children have to deal with from an early age. In Tres Rios there is a crack cocaine problem, and many adults have alcohol and substance abuse problems.
Children suffer directly as parents struggle to cope. Many young people struggle to escape poverty due to the social stigma of living in the wrong part of town. Merely living in a poor neighbourhood can impact a child's future as Costa Rican society stigmatises the very poor.
Our work in Tres Rios
We set up our Children's Village in 1975 for children who can no longer live with their parents. The children live in a family environment and are cared for by an SOS mother. They go to school and play an active role in the community, forming and maintaining social networks as they grow up.
An SOS youth home helps young people on the path to independence. They live in shared, supported accommodation while undertaking vocational training or higher education. As they face the increasing challenges of young adulthood, they are able to benefit from the advice and support of trained youth counsellors, giving them a smooth transition towards full independence.
An SOS vocational training centre in San Jose provides training for for roles within the Children's Village, providing jobs for local people. Here, staff learn the skills they need to become SOS mothers, staff and youth counsellors.
In a city of great divides, we help disadvantaged children over the obstacles to success and prosperity. You can help by sponsoring a child today.