Children in Jamaica
Hardship is the norm for children growing up in Jamaica. A particular problem is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Widespread in Jamaica, the disease leaves many children orphaned. Tens of thousands of Jamaican children grow up without one or both parents, and many of these are forced to lead households. Alongside this, children face countless other difficulties:
16.5% of children live in extreme poverty, either with their parents or as orphans.
Nearly all children are touched by violence – research suggests that six in ten children are related to a murder victim.
Many girls suffer sexual violence. Despite efforts by the government, cases of rape are rising fast.
On the streets of Kingston, young boys sell merchandise, clean car windscreens, or simply beg for a living.
Our Children's Villages in Jamaica
We began work in Jamaica in 1972 when we opened our first Village near the important city and tourist hotspot of Montego Bay.
This was complemented a decade later by our Village in Stony Hill on the opposite side of the country to our first Village, just outside the capital Kingston.
Our Children's Village in Barrett Town was opened by world-renowned country singer Johnny Cash, a big supporter of our work. As well as providing a home for well over 100 children who have lost their parents, we furnish children with the skills they need for a successful and prosperous career.
An SOS Nursery provides an introduction to learning for many children from the Village as well as the local community. When children are ready to leave their SOS home, we help them on their way to independent living by through shared accommodation. While undertaking higher study or vocational training, young adults enjoy the support of counsellors who work with them to talk through and prepare for the challenges of adult life.
Twelve years after we began helping children near Montego Bay, we opened our Village in Stony Hill on the outskirts of Jamaica's capital. As in Barrett Town, we offer nursery schooling to young children from the Village as well as the surrounding area.
Stony Hill is also home to a primary school, and after completing their secondary education, young people can return to embark on vocational training or further study. When ready to leave our care, older children can move on to shared accommodation in Kingston, where we offer them advice on guidance, preparing them for the financial and personal pressures they will face in adult life.
SOS Children’s Village of Jamaica Foundation
Montego Bay 2
Tel: +1/876/95 26 215, +1/876/97 95 850
Fax: +1/876/97 95 855