Ciudad Ojeda is located in northwestern Venezuala, and has a population of over 140,000. It is a 'planned city', built in 1937 to provide better living conditions for people living in the neighbouring town of Lagunillas de Agua, and to accomodate the increasing number of oil workers in the area.
Reliance on oil impacts employment
The region of is heavily dependent on oil companies, with many people employed by them. Unfortunately, dependence on oil profits makes the area’s economy incredibly sensitive to fluctuating oil prices. In recent times, the price of oil has been in severe decline, drastically impacting people’s livelihoods. Despite government efforts, there has been a severe shortage of jobs, despite the nationalisation of oil companies. Signicant pollution from the oil industry into Lake Maracaibo is causing many health issues for inhabitants of Ciudad Ojeda, which lies on the Lake's edge.
Children face exploitation and homelessness
Venezuala is struggling with incredibly high inflation - it has one of the highest inflation rates in the world. This means that ordinary people struggle to pay for even the most basic of items, with wads of cash being virtually worthless. 27% of families live in poverty, experiencing unemployment and a shortage of vital items and goods.
Young parents in particular do not have the resilience to raise their children in these circumstances. Often, the children end up having to fend for themselves on the street or in the informal labour market. Without access to education, care and support, these children are at risk of spiraling into a life of crime, teenage pregancy and drug abuse. And so the cycle of poverty continues.
Our work in Ciudad Ojeda
A loving home for children with no-one
Our SOS Children’s Village in Ciudad Ojeda was established in 1983. Children who have been orphaned or who have lost the care of their parents can find a new home in one of the 10 family houses here.
In our SOS families, children live with brothers and sisters under the care of a loving SOS mother.
Supporting the community
We also run a programme through our social centre aimed at supporting families from the local community. This programme builds the resilience of poor and vulnerable families, providing childcare services so that single mothers and parents can entrust their to a safe and caring environment while they earn a living. The community is encouraged to make regular use of the social centre to hold events and workshops, and we offer support and training where necessary. It is a real neighbourhood hub.
Once young people are ready to leave their SOS family, we provide shared housing for them as part of our SOS youth programme. Here, they are supported by qualified counsellors while they adjust to the demands, challenges and excitement of adult life.
For many children in Ciudad Ojeda, life is hard. We are there to provide love and care to the most vulnerable. You can help make the life of a Venezuelan child better by sponsoring with SOS Children's Villages.