In the east of the country, in the Altiplano, Oruro stands 3,700 meters above sea level and is home to 265,000 inhabitants.
The city is undergoging many changes. The majority of the people lived off mining. But these mines shut down, leaving many families searching for new ways of making a living.
Many children and young people move to Oruro from rural areas seeking better living conditions. But they continue to face many challenges.
Since 1988, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Oruro.
Around 46 per cent of Oruro inhabitants live in extreme poverty, which means that they live on less than $1 USD a day and don’t have a sufficient income.
Unable to meet their basic needs, rural families often resort to padrinazgo – a cultural practice where parents send their children to urban areas to live with individuals for better access to education, social services, and food.
But it often leads to forced labour, including domestic work and third-party businesses. These children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and violence and have little hope of obtaining formal work later in life
In Oruro, around one third of children below the age of three malnourished. Understood as low height for age, which implies a significant delay in growth,
Malnourishment is a direct result of the economic struggles their parents are encountering. Families often cannot afford to provide an adequate diet and struggle to have enough time to look after their children as they work extremely long hours. Without those long hours there is less nutriout food, and without that nutritious food, children and adolescents cannot be active and grow healthy.