SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia).

4,090 meters above sea level, Potosí is one of the highest cities in the world with a rare cold highland climate. Home to 264,000 inhabitants, it’s the largest urban center in the region and has long been a silver mining centre. This minig has been a severe cause for pollution, and with raw material prices on the decline, many of the mines have now closed down. Unemployment and poverty affect the largely indigenous population. Here, children are often forced to work.

Since 1998, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Potosí.

Of people living in poverty are indigenous

Children living in poverty

In Bolivia, indigenous communities account for about 44% of the population – but represent 75% of people living in multidimensionally poverty. In Potosí, a predominantly indigenous region, this means that a lot of the population cannot meet basic needs such as nutrition, sanitation, and adequate housing. The COVID-19 pandemic came after a severe political crisis in 2019 and has impacted the socioeconomic situation and food security of Bolivians, especially those indigenous communities with precarious sources of income.

Children die before the age of 5

Children health is endangered

In Potosí, 126 per thousand children die before reaching their fifth birthday – that’s the highest rate of child mortality in the country. This number is a key indicator for child health and well-being. One of the reasons for high number of early childhood deaths is the water quality in the Potosí region: centuries of heavy mining activities have polluted and contaminated the local rivers. Here, clean drinking water is not available to all and is unfit for domestic or agricultural use. Growing up in these circumstances, where their basic needs are not met, has a substantial impact on a child's outlook on life and hopes for the future.

Your support makes a difference for children in Potosí

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Attend our kindergarten
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children having fun and baking together. We try to encourage children to bake and cook – not only is it fun but it will also help them look after themselves in the future (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bolivia).

How your support helps in Potosí

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.