Tijuana is the northernmost city in Mexico, with a population of 1.3 million as of 2010.
Behind the glitz and glamour of Tijuana lies a part of the city that houses the poorest of the poor. Tijuana has the longest border in the world measuring 24 kilometres long with San Diego on the other side, and border crossings average 50 million a year.
Families migrate in search of better opportunities
With the growth of the city and a reputation for having a strong economy, Tijuana has become the target of many poor Mexicans living in the south as well as foreigners as a place to migrate to and find work. An estimated 80,000 people move to Tijuana every year for work resulting in unregulated settlements and squatting. The government has always been tolerant of squatters and try to provide basic services like water and electricity.
Crime is a major problem in Tijuana because it is the base of the Tijuana drug cartels. Other problems are human trafficking, gun running, kidnapping, extortion, smuggling, gang violence, and turf wars.
Children try to escape poverty by crossing border
In a city with a population that is burgeoning out of control, the most affected are the children of non-working parents, those abandoned by their parents who cross illegally to the U.S., or those vulnerable to crime. There are even children who try to cross the border illegally on their own exposing themselves to immeasurable danger.
With families poor and fragmented, education and the proper child-rearing in depressed areas is severely challenged. Children grow up without employable skills which force them into illegal drug or sex trade or push them to join a gang to bolster their self esteem and sense of worth.
Our Work in Tijuana
The SOS Children’s Village in Tijuana is the fifth SOS Village in Mexico, opening in 1993. Our biggest challenge in Tijuana is keeping the children in school and away from the violence and abuse in the streets. It is not uncommon for children to be orphaned because of city violence or drug addiction which leads to a never-ending cycle of poverty and hopelessness.
SOS Children's Villages focuses on the long-term need of children from nursery to graduation in the secondary level. In our Children's Village, we care for over 100 children who have been abandoned or have parents unwilling to care for them. Each SOS family has a SOS mother and SOS siblings. The support system is strong and the children are getting proper nutrition and a good education. They are also slowly being integrated into the community as their secondary support system.
As with all SOS Children’s Villages, after finishing school the youth are given a choice of being guided for a college education or learning work skills that would make them more easily hireable and away from the temptation on the back streets of Tijuana.
With your support today, vulnerable children in Tijuana will grow and flourish in our Children's Village. Sponsor a child and transform a young life.