Children in Ecuador

Over a quarter of the people in Ecuador live in shacks, with limited access to basic sanitation, electricity or food. Poverty is particularly prevalent in rural areas, and as urban migration has risen, it has become more widespread across Ecuador. Many people move abroad in search of work, only to suffer a life of poverty elsewhere.

Thousands of Ecuadorian children are forced to put food on the table for their entire families, and one out of ten is malnourished.

Children under 12 years old work for family businesses, polishing shoes and reselling unwanted goods.

Abuse and neglect often drives children to try their luck on the streets, turning to begging or petty crime.

Often, young girls are forced into commercial sex work, leading to escalating HIV/AIDS rates among street children.

Our Children's Villages in Ecuador

SOS Children’s Villages began work in Ecuador in 1963, and there are now six SOS Children’s Village in the country. We provided vital emergency relief following a border dispute in 1995 and flooding in 1998.


Our first Children’s Village in Ecuador opened in the capital city Quito in 1963. Wealth here is unequally distributed, and in some areas, 99% of people live in poverty. A lack of education means over half the people have no formal employment, instead engaging in informal work such street-selling. SOS Children's Villages supports parents so that children can attend school.


Esmeraldas is a town of racial discrimination, poverty and a growing HIV/AIDS problem. Around half the people here have no clean drinking water and insufficient food. The lure of easy money drives families into drugs trafficking in Colombia. SOS Children's Villages has run a Village here since 1979, providing a stable and caring home for children suffering from discrimination and poverty.


Precarious living conditions are severely affecting the psychological and physical development of children in Ibarra. As in Esmeraldas, racial discrimination puts some children at a serious disadvantage in education, job prospects and self-esteem. SOS Children's Villages began work in Ibarra in 1979 to strengthen families and provide homes and education to children with no parents.


Traditional trades such as hat-making are not lucrative enough for people in Cuenca. With parents struggling to support themselves, the situation for children is worryingly desperate. Single mothers often have no choice but to travel abroad in search of work, leaving young children in the care of relatives. SOS Children's Villages focus particularly on providing care for children like these.


Families in the province of Manabi depend on subsistence farming to support themselves, often relying on their children to work 10-hour days in the fields, with dangerous machinery and pesticides. SOS Children's Villages opened a Village in the city of Portoviejo in 1999, and has focused since on providing essential food and resources to the people here to tackle the severe problems of malnutrition.


Family life in Guayaquil is difficult, with a lack of food and services pushing parents towards alcohol and violence. Often children are forced to work for money, and some are abandoned by parents who cannot afford to look after them. Children often wander the streets, and substance abuse such as glue-sniffing is especially common. SOS Children's Villages has been working in Guayaquil since 2007 and concentrates its efforts on supporting families as they struggle to provide the best upbringing for their children.

Local contact

Aldeas Infantiles SOS Ecuador   

Casilla Postal 17-17-1852



Tel: +593/2/33 16583, +593/2/33 17561

Fax: +593/2/225 57 60


Explore SOS

SOSUK welcomes call to end ‘heartbreak’ of refugee family reunion rules

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.

Get Involved

Without our supporters, we could not do this. Whether you are an individual, a school, a company, a trust or a foundation, here you can discover all the best ways to fundraise for us and raise awareness of our work.


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.