Children in Chile

Approximately a quarter of children live below the poverty line in Chile.

For the poorest families, child labour laws have not stopped children working informally on the streets, surrounded by fumes and traffic and vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Gender inequality is a particular problem for girls, who marry young.

Abortion is illegal and these young mothers find themselves at risk from poor reproductive health and an increased chance of poverty.

Our Children's Villages in Chile

SOS Children’s Villages started working in Chile in 1965, in the area around Concepción, and we now have Villages all over Chile. We support families where there is a risk of child neglect, and offer abandoned children a loving home in one of our Children’s Villages.

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The 2010 earthquake affected Concepción most severely. An indicator of its severity are that the tremors shifted the entire city 3 metres to the west. As well as destroying homes, shops and roads, the earthquake ruined people's livelihoods.
The emergency relief we provided developed into self-sustainable development programmes run by the community. This has helped families in the area rebuild their livelihoods without having to move away, allowing children to grow up with stability and security.

Bulnes and Coyanco, Biobío

The 2010 earthquake had devastating effects in the region of Biobío. Animals died, harvests were destroyed and fires demolished thousands of hectares of forest. For many, migration was the only option. SOS Children's Villages provided emergency relief, ensuring families could stay where they were and begin to rebuild their lives.
SOS Children's Villages has also been providing family support, education and medical care in the small city of Bulnes since 1969, and in Coyanco since 1975.


Curicó was also severely affected by the 2010 earthquake, particularly in the coastal regions where tsunamis destroyed the city. SOS Children's Villages provided food, clothing and emotional support, helping families here to get back on track.


Many people in Malleco commute to towns up to 60 miles away, leaving children home alone all day. Their parents away, many children spend much of their time on the streets, exposed to drugs and crime. SOS Children's Villages began working here in 1981 and provides day care, so that children are properly cared for while parents are away. Following the earthquake in 2010, SOS Children's Villages provided emergency relief and resources, helping create redevelopment programmes.

Madreselvas and Los Aromos, Santiago

The city of Santiago is divided, with many families living in severe poverty. Children as young as 5 contribute to the family income, missing out on school. Crime rates and drug abuse are high in these poor neighbourhoods.
The first Santiago Children's Village was opened in Madreselvas, and the second in Los Aromos, both on the outskirts of the city. SOS Children's Villages supports families so that children can go to school instead of working, and have a hope for a successful future.


Inequality is a big problem in Quilpué. Gender discrimination, poverty and malnutrition affect many. The work of SOS Children's Villages is vital in supporting children who are at risk of losing their family, or have nowhere else to live. There is still a lot of work to do to raise awareness of children's rights in the region.

Puerto Varas

The unequal wealth distribution means that many children in Puerto Varas cannot attend secondary school and many families are working in the informal sector with no job protection. In struggling families, children are required to earn money or neglected by parents who spend most of their lives working.
SOS Children's Villages has been working here since 1984 to ensure children remain in the care of their families and benefit from the education they need for a successful future.


The city of Antofagasta is rich and well-developed, but thousands of people living in shanty-towns on the outskirts of the city have yet to benefit from the area's collective wealth. Single mothers struggle to make enough money to support their family, and when families break apart, children are often left to fend for themselves on the streets.
SOS Children's Villages established a village here in 1987, aiming to keep struggling families together.


The city of Arica is a popular tourist destination near the border with Peru and Bolivia. Chile's economic reputation encourages people to cross the border into Arica, only for dreams to be shattered. Children from struggling families are at risk of becoming entangled in crime and drug abuse, giving them little hope for the future.
SOS Children's Villages began working here in 1988 and has been supporting vulnerable families to give children security and a positive future.


Ancud is a town on the remote island of Chiloé, a dangerous ferry ride off the coast of Chile. People on the island rely on salmon fishing for a living, and in 2007 an economic crisis hit when a virus infected thousands of salmon.
SOS Children's Villages began working here in 2003 to care for children who were at risk of abandonment by their families.

Padre de las Casas

Padre las Casas has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the country, with over half of all children suffering from abuse. The indigenous Mapuches people struggle to keep up in an ever-accelerating world, and many have fallen on desperate times. Drug addiction affects children from an increasingly early age.

Local contact

Aldeas Infantiles SOS Chile
Av. Los Leones 382, 5° piso, Of 501
Casilla 16590
Correo 9
Tel: +56/2/33 47 018, +56/2/33 47 019
Fax: +56/2/23 26 357

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Aid agency SOS Children’s Villages UK welcomed comments by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on the need to change immigration rules that keep families apart.

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You can help children who have lost their parents. They may have been orphaned by AIDS, natural disaster or conflict. Poverty may have forced their parents to give them up, or they may have been separated from their family by war.