Maracay has a population of 1.7 million and is located in the north of Venezuela, near the Caribbean coast and approximately 60 miles west of the capital Caracas. The city is economically vital to Argua state, and an industrial and commercial hub. It produces many vital goods such as meat and dairy, as well as chemicals, cement and paper.
Much of Venzeuala's population live in harsh, challenging conditions. Despite its amenities and infrastructure, Maracay is no exception. Street children often sleep in or close to the Maracay Central Terminal. Here, their only option is to beg for food and attempt to sell merchandise to passing tourists. It is common in Venezuela for children to wander the streets instead of going to school.
In some cases, families are desperate for extra income, resulting in children dropping out of school and ending up in the unregulated, informal labour market. This is the sole source of income for many families. This results in many young children being exploited and used to carry out criminal activities, including selling drugs. Without an education, a child's chances of breaking out of this cycle of poverty are slim.
Our work in Maracay
Care for the most vulnerable
We opened SOS Children's Village Maracay in 2000. The Village has 12 family houses providing love and care to 108 children who have no-one else to look after them.
The children, who have lost their parents, suffered neglect, and come from poor or marginalised families are able to grow up in a loving and supportive environment.
In many cases, our aim is family reintegration - getting children back to their families. We work with both the child and their care-givers to establish a positive, stable context to which the child can return.
Helping the community
We offer a holistic package of support and services to help the neediest children. Our SOS social centre helps fragile families get stronger. One of the key ways we achieve this is by providing services that enable parents or care-givers to earn a regular income. We offer childcare so that parents are able to go out to work knowing that their children are safe and receiving an education.
Support for young people
We also run a dedicated SOS youth programme, offering support to older children. With the help of our qualified staff, young people learn to be responsible as they lead semi-independent lives.
We are there so that Maracay's most vulnerable children can enjoy a safe and happy childhood. You can help by sponsoring a child.