Portoviejo is the capital of Manabi province in the north west of the country. The Manabi province of Ecuador is the poorest province in the country.
Many of those living on the outskirts of its capital Portoviejo are struggling to survive in poverty. In 2016 natural disasters – flooding and a 7.8 magnitude earthquake – caused further suffering in the region.
Children suffer from malnutrition
Among all coastal provinces in the country, Manabi has the highest rates of malnutrition. Only eight of 22 districts of the province do as well as having the average malnutrition figures of Ecuador. Most districts have higher malnutrition rates than the national average. The provincial average for chronically undernourished children is as high as 40%. Thousands of families lack the means to live comfortably – with no paved roads, no access to drinking water or sanitation, and no electricity.
Forced to work from a young age
For most, subsistence farming is the chief means of survival. Children work on farms to help their families get by and are exposed to dangerous machinery and pesticides as part of their daily work. School is a luxury for children that most families are not able afford – the only schools in the region are in Portoviejo and the distances involved are frequently prohibitive. Nearly half of all children in Manabi live below the national poverty line. Though Ecuador has recently developed a very progressive poverty alleviation programme, child malnutrition is nonetheless endemic.
Communities devastated by 2010 droughts
In 2010 a severe drought meant that harvest didn't come for many subsistence farmers in the region. Tens of thousands of children found themselves on the brink of starvation. Many were abandoned while others were orphaned, and it is estimated that as many as 65,000 children in the province now grow up without their parents. Due to the drought, we intensified our efforts in the region to help children and families in need.
Our work in Portoviejo
We opened our Children's Village in Portoviejo in 1999.
Caring for children: Over 100 children can find a loving home in an SOS family. Each child is cared for together with their SOS brothers and sisters by an SOS Mother. They attend school in the community, form friendships and enjoy the opportunity to engage in their local community.
Strenthening families: We keep parents and children together by individually addressing the problems each family faces, be they financial, practical or otherwise. Our SOS social centre runs a child-minding programme to allow parents to work while their children are cared for in a safe, nurturing environment.
Supporting young people: As they grow up, the young adults cared for by us are offered places on our SOS youth programme. On the programme, they live in shared, supported accommodation where they can live while undertakingfurther education or vocational training. With the guidance of qualified youth counsellors, young people begin to take decisions which will govern the course of their life.
Through ongoing, nurturing support in a loving family setting, we provide Portoviejo's most disadvantaged children with the very best start in life. You can help by sponsoring a child.