Salto is in north-west Uruguay separated from Argentina by Río Uruguay. Salto is the second largest city in Uruguay with a population of over 100,000. It is roughly 500 kilometres north-west of Montevideo, the country’s capital.
Despite having recognition for being South America’s wealthiest and most developed country, Uruguay suffers from severe rural poverty.
Harsh conditions for migrant families
The Salto department, with Salto as its capital, is one of the regions with the highest rates of poverty. The economy of the region is largely based on agriculture and many are involved in the growing of citrus fruits. Small farmers find it increasingly difficult to compete with large-scale plantations and the machines now used in the primary sector of developing countries.
Most people in Salto are rural migrants who have been driven towards the city in the hopes of improving their standard of life. However these Uruguayans face the harsh reality of life which involves poverty that even those in the city endure.
‘Cantegriles’ in Salto
Thousands of people live in shantytowns on the outskirts of Salto, known as ‘cantegriles’ in South America. Overcrowding is a common problem in these dwellings, and can leads to the spread of diseases. Poor sanitation, limited healthcare, and a lack basic infrastructure only make matters worse.
In addition to electricity and public transport, these areas lack the resources necessary for young children to study and the sufficient teaching required for them to generate a steady income in the future. A childhood of deprivation can have a range of negative effects on a child, and stunt their development. These problems continue to threaten the lives of thousands of children in Uruguay.
SOS Children's Villages in Salto
In 1985 SOS Children's Villages set up social centres in Salto, which support fragile families to stay together. We provide day-care for children from 18 months to three years - allowing parents to work and earn an income. The SOS Nursery provides similar services for toddlers as does the children’s club which looks after children of school age before and after school hours.
The clinic in the Children’s Village provides basic medical care for those in the community who would not be able to afford the treatment otherwise. The sports centre not only encourages a healthy lifestyle but also provides leisure opportunities for everyone in the community
A loving home for children with no-one else
The SOS Children’s Village consists of housing for SOS families. This ensures that children from Salto who have lost parental care are provided with a loving family home. The children, who live with their SOS brothers and sisters, are raised under the care of an SOS mother. The families keep fruit and vegetable gardens and raise chickens - contributing to their self-sufficiency.
When young people from the Village feel ready to move out of the family home in order to study at a higher level or pursue vocational training, the SOS youth programme provides them with shared accommodation. With the support of qualified counsellors, the young people live together and learn to take responsibility. They make plans for their future and prepare for independent adult life.
From nursery to adulthood, we provide orphaned and abandoned children with a loving family home. If you'd like to get to know one of the children growing up in SOS Children's Village Salto, become a child sponsor today!