Río Hondo

Children from Rio Hondo, Peru

Severe poverty, abandonment and child labour are all serious threats to the healthy development and survival of thousands of children living on the outskirts of Lima.

SOS Children's Villages has been working with vulnerable children and families in Río Hondo since the 1970s, helping to alleviate daily hardship and keep families together.

Stolen childhoods

Río Hondo is a town located on the outskirts of Lima, around 40 kilometres from the city itself. The distribution of wealth is striking, with the majority of Lima’s residents living in substandard or informal housing – without electricity, clean drinking water, sanitation or access to basic social services – while a much smaller upper class enjoys a very different lifestyle.

The city has struggled to keep up with its rapidly expanding population and existing infrastructure is strained. Children living in poverty on the fringes of the city are particularly vulnerable with thousands suffering from chronic malnutrition, anaemia and lead poisoning.

Child labour

It is estimated that 60% of children in Peru are living in poverty. A large number of these children have lost parental care and take to the streets to survive. Child labour is a widespread and accepted part of Peruvian society and children often take up informal employment such as shining shoes, selling merchandise or washing car windscreens at traffic lights. Peru’s government has implemented programmes to eradicate the worst forms of child labour, but it is still a serious social challenge in the country’s capital.

Children in PeruChildren involved in informal work have little hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and improving their futures. Children working unsupervised in the streets are vulnerable to exploitation, organised gang recruitment, violence and drug abuse. Without the experience of a secure and happy childhood or access to education, it is difficult for these children to realise their true potential.

Long-term solutions desperately needed for struggling families

Severe poverty is widespread in Peru, and in Lima, millions of families are struggling to survive. The Peruvian government is working to alleviate the hardship suffered by many of its people and while these projects have seen some success, long-term solutions are needed.

How do we help in Río Hondo?

SOS Children's Villages began work in townships on the outskirts of Lima in the 1970s in response to a growing number of abandoned children. Single mothers and families struggle to care for their children and for some children, the best option is to take to the streets to survive.

Mother and children at the breakfast table at the SOS Children's Village Rio Bonito near Sao Paulo, Brazil

We now work to support struggling families, providing basic social services with the aim of keeping parents and their children living together as a family unit.

A loving home for orphaned and abandoned children

The SOS Children’s Village at Río Hondo began supporting vulnerable children on Lima’s outskirts in 1978. Up to 108 children who are no longer able to live with their parents are welcomed into stable and loving homes with 12 SOS families. Children have a chance to experience a carefree childhood as they grow up with their SOS brothers and sisters, all being cared for by an SOS mother.

The SOS Youth Programme was established in 2001 to provide guidance and to older children when they are ready to move out of the SOS family home. Our young people live in shared, semi-independent accommodation under the supervision of a qualified counsellor while working towards completing vocational training or higher education. SOS Youths are encouraged to develop important life skills including decision-making and being responsible, as well as making contacts with relatives, friends and potential employers.

In our Children's Village in Río Hondo, young people are given all they need to flourish. Will you help a child to achieve their dreams, and sponsor a child today?


SOS Children cares for orphaned and abandoned children in around 125 countries worldwide.