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

Limón also known as Puerto Limón, is the capital city of Limón district with a population of around 65,828. It’s in the east of the country, stretching along the Caribbean Coast. However, there’s a darker side to this natural paradise. Surging cocaine transports and gangs fighting for Limón’s port are fuelling violence and homicides. Gangs can easily recruit vulnerable children and young people because of the high poverty and unemployment rates in the city.

Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Limón.

Of households in Limón are living in poverty

Children living in poverty

More than 2.2 million people with low incomes in Costa Rica are spending 65% of their income on food, non-alcoholic beverages, and payments for public services, housing and fuel. The poorest 20% have expenses higher than income. Poverty is still more common in rural areas, but recently the rates have increased most in urban areas. An estimated 448,000 minors in Costa Rica grow up in poverty being vulnerable to violence, exploitation, drug abuse, sex trafficking and gangs.

Of all murders in Costa Rica happen in Limón

Children at risk due to violence

Limón province has become Costa Rica’s murder capital. Limón’s homicide rate is triple the national average. And in recent years the number of homicides has increased. 90% of murders in Limón city are caused by clashes between organized crime groups. The majority of murders are linked to organized crime with victims being mostly men. Violence remains high, partly because gangs offer contract killings for as little as $80. Children are often lured into gangs and are used to transport and sell drugs.

Your support makes a difference for children in Limón

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.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children playing in the garden. Children grow up together and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Costa Rica).

How your support helps in Limón

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.