Children in uatemala

In 2001 the World Bank estimated that two thirds of Guatemalan children were living in poverty. Illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition are among the highest in the region, life expectancy is among the lowest and the country is one of the most violent in Latin America.

  1. Some 60 per cent of the school age population live in rural areas, but only 24.5 per cent of the schools are in the rural areas.
  2. Eight municipalities do not have a middle school and only 58 per cent have a secondary school.
  3. More children at younger ages are entering the labour force, and the child labour rate is the highest in Central America at 26%.

Our Children's Villages in Guatemala

We began working in Guatemala in 1976 following an earthquake which totally destroyed the town of San Juan Sacatepéquez, 30 km from Guatemala City. Five wooden houses were built to provide homes for children who had been orphaned. We now have five SOS Children’s Villages in Guatemala.

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SOS Children's Village Quetzaltenango was built in 1979 on the outskirts of the city of Quetzaltenango, 200 km north-west of Guatamela City at an altitude of 2,400 metres. The Village has a number of family houses and three youth houses.


We opened a Village at Retalhuleu in 1980. Retalhuleu, a provincial capital with around 60,000 inhabitants, is 230 km west of Guatemala City. The Village is in a residential area about two kilometres from the city centre and has a number of family houses and youth houses and an SOS Nursery which is also open to children in the neighbourhood. A workshop provides training in tailoring and dressmaking for the young people.

Jocotán, Chiquimula

SOS Children's Villages Jocotán opened in 1983. Jocotán is a small village, 26 km from the nearest large city Chiquimula where there is an SOS Youth House for the older children. On the side of a river, the Village has a number of family houses and an SOS Nursery which is also used by children and families in Jocotán. An SOS Primary School was built in 1993 for both local and SOS children.

San Jerónimo

Guatemala's fifth community opened in 2001. SOS Children's Village San Jerónimo is in the province of Baja Verapaz, an area that was badly affected by the civil war and whose inhabitants (mostly American Indians from the Quiché tribe) are still suffering the consequences. The Village has ten family houses and runs its own nursery for both the SOS and local children.

Santa Cruz del Quiché

Our newest Children's Village in Guatemala is under construction in Quiché to provide orphaned and abandoned children with a new family home. SOS Children's Village Santa Cruz del Quiché will be in the city of the same name, the capital of the Quiché region.

Local contact

Asociación Aldeas Infantiles SOS de Guatemala
Apartado postal 2908
2908 Ciudad de Guatemala
Tel: +502 – 2419 1500
Fax: +502 – 2419 1512

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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.