Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is home to around 1.3 million people, approximately 40% of Uruguay’s population. The city is located on the south coast across the bay from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
Montevideo is known for its strong European roots and its high quality of living. However, despite being the capital of South America’s most wealthy and developed country, over 100,000 people in Montevideo are estimated to live in shantytowns, known as ‘cantegriles’ in South America.
Families lack access to basic healthcare
Overcrowding is common in slum environments, and poor sanitation and limited healthcare can lead to untreated disease. These areas lack basic infrastructure which is taken for granted in other parts of the world. As well as utilities such as electricity as services including transport, informal dwellings lack the resources needed for youngsters to benefit from good education, seriously affecting their future life chances.
Unemployment leads to poverty
As the number of unemployed people has increased so has the number of those living below the national poverty line. There are around 50,000 unemployed people in Montevideo and approximately 24,000 people living below the national poverty line. This means they are unable to meet basic needs, such as an adequate diet.
Children are most severely affected by this situation. Almost two thirds of those aged 5 to 17 are brought up in the poorest areas of Uruguay.
Childhood of deprivation
Parents, particularly single mothers, often find it difficult to look after their children in Montevideo. This leads to many young people being raised in conditions that can have severe effects on their development. A childhood of deprivation can severely affect a child’s self-esteem, often leading to unfulfilled potential as an adult.
In addition to this, such children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and child trafficking - especially in the border areas.
The work of SOS Children's Villages in Montevideo
In 1964, SOS Children's Villages set up social centres in the outskirts of Montevideo, which provide family strengthening programmes. This includes a day-care centre, where children can be looked after during the day - allowing parents or single mothers to work and generate an income for the family. We offer supervised study time and classes in the afternoon as well as supervision during the school holidays.
Children given a second chance
Our Children's Village provides a home for children who cannot live with their families. These children grow up with their SOS brothers and sisters in the care of a loving SOS mother.
When they are ready to move out of the family home, our youth programme ensures provides older children with shared accommodation, where they live with other young adults. Youth workers support them as they learn how to cooperate with others in a community setting, as well as helping them acquire the skills they need to succeed in independent life. At the same time, they continue their education or begin vocational training.
An SOS vocational training centre in Montevideo provides SOS mothers and SOS staff with specialised training.
We need your help to provide loving family homes to children with no-one else. Will you sponsor a child in Montevideo today? Just click on the 'Sponsor now' button below.