La Cañada de Urdaneta, Maracaibo

Four girls playing, VenezuelaLa Cañada is situated in the Lake Maracaibo region, North Venezuela, around 35km south of the country's second largest city, Maracaibo. Around one million people in Maracaibo (often referred to as ‘zulianos’) live in extreme poverty. 

Orphaned and abandoned children face a life full of challenges where basic necessities, such as decent housing and primary education, are considered a luxury by some. The SOS Children’s Village La Cañada is one of three Children's Villages in Venezuela.

Life in Maracaibo

Life in Maracaibo is incredibly tough. The crime rate is exceptionally high - almost as high as Caracas, Venzeula's capital. The murder rate is a particular concern, making Maracaibo a very dangerous place to grow up. 

Around 6,000 abandoned children live on the streets of Maracaibo and are not only forced to beg and steal in order to survive, but also turn to glue sniffing as a way to make their lives more tolerable.

For many young children, going to school is a distant dream. Instead they spend their days working for a living, selling merchandise, cleaning car windshields at traffic lights or shining shoes. These vulnerable children are sometimes used by adults for selling drugs or to carry out other criminal activities.

The next generation in Venezuela

A significant number of children in Venezuela have lost either one or both parents. This means that many children are growing up without the love, care and support they so desperately need.

Thousands of families continue to struggle to send their children to school. Primary schools are scarce in small towns around Lake Maracaibo and the fare for the daily trip to study in Maracaibo or Bobures is usually too expensive for families. 

Our work in La Cañada 

SOS Children's Villages has been supporting vulnerable children and their families in Venezuela since 1979 by providing a range of different services. This includes the provision of family strengthening programmes, welcoming homes for children without parental care, medical advice and counselling at our SOS social centres.

Child sponsorship La Canada, VenezeulaSOS Children's Villages aims to support and strengthen existing families so that children can enjoy a happy childhood. Our day care centre is a crucial resource for many families, offering parents professional child-care services that enable them to go earn a living. The children receive schooling at the centre. 

A loving home for children with no-one

SOS Children's Village La Cañada was opened to help address the huge problem of street children in Maracaibo. There are 14 families with space for 126 vulnerable children in the Village. The children are cared for by an SOS mother in a comfortable family home.

We also run a programme to support young people in the local area and teenagers who are ready to move on from life in the Village. With the help of our qualified staff, the young adults develop ambitions and perspectives for their future and learn to take responsibility.

Help children in La Cañada who have escaped a life on the streets have an even brighter future. Sponsor a child today. 


In Africa, children orphaned by AIDS can find a loving home and family in an SOS Children’s Village.