Children from Ibarra, Ecuador
Anything can be a toy for a happy child in Ibarra
Ibarra is in the mountainous province of Imbabura in the northern Andes. The beautiful town sits in stunning surroundings, and is famed for its colonial architecture, agreeable climate and friendly residents.

Tourists and internal migrants alike flock to be a part of the town's life. Where tourists enjoy its comfort, life is very different for many newcomers seeking a better life.

Limited infrastructure leaves many without water and sanitation

Though a draw to tourists thanks to its colonial architecture and rich history, it is estimated that only 20% of Ibarra's 140,000 residents have basic access to water and sanitation. 53% of rural citizens live below the national poverty line. Many rural migrants seek a better life in Ibarra but frequently find themselves in similarly challenging conditions to those of their homelands. Infrastructure is limited, and good housing in short supply.

Poverty can severely affect a child's health and psychological development. Though there are national welfare programmes in the country, it is estimated that 18% of children in the wider Imbabura province need support.

Prejudice hampers educational opportunities

Sadly, a child's skin colour can determine their success in life. Racial prejudice remains a major problem, and prevents many from getting ahead in life.

Children of indigenous ethnicity often do not complete their education and even if they do, are confronted with a glass ceiling when they apply for work as young adults. Those who do not complete their education frequently have dropped out of school to work in order to help their families make ends meet.


Mother and children at Ibarra, Ecuador
A tasty meal in an SOS family

Our work in Ibarra

SOS Children's Villages began work in Ibarra in 1979, and today our SOS Children's Village helps the community in a variety of ways. From our SOS social centre, we intervene in families on the verge of collapse so that children can grow up in the care of their parents.

The social centre also offers a childminding and daycare centre service to enable parents to work, safe in the knowledge their children are being cared for properly while they earn a living. The social centre also has a preventative healthcare programme which reaches out to the whole community, vaccinating children and ensuring preventable diseases don't affect their childhood.

For children who can no longer live with their families, our SOS families offer the love of an SOS mother and a happy, noisy childhood surrounded by their SOS brothers and sisters. While living in the Children's VIllage, these children attend school in the community.

As they grow up, young people are offered support through the SOS youth programme. They live in shared, supported accommodation while attending further education or vocational training. As they come to take key decisions and shoulder increased responsibilities, they benefit from the guidance of our qualified youth counsellors.

We are there for Ibarra's most vulnerable children from the moment they enter our care until they are ready to begin independent life. Help us continue to help the most needy by sponsoring a child. 


Did you know? SOS Children has been working for children in the Americas since the 1960’s, providing charity care to children and families.