Santiago de los Caballeros

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

Santiago de los Caballeros (Santiago) is the Dominican Republic’s second largest city with a population of 1.2 million. Traditionally, people in the city have worked in the headquarters of big companies or financial institutions, or in the production of its famous cigars, rum and coffee. However, tourism has become increasingly important. And this brings its own risks to vulnerable children and young people.

Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Santiago de los Caballeros.

1 in 4
Commercial sex workers are under 18 years old

Sexual exploitation

A recently released study by International Justice Mission revealed that 1 in 10 individuals in Dominican’s commercial sexual exploitation are children. Human trafficking in the Dominican Republic take place in the open – on street corners, in parks, on beaches where pimps and sex traffickers are selling vulnerable children. The Dominican Republic is also a hotspot for sex tourists looking to purchase girls and teens.

Of the people are living in poverty in Santiago

Children living in poverty

Around 18% of people in Santiago de los Caballeros live in poverty. Women and children are most affected by this poverty. Although the economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, its effect and the high inflation are still felt by many families. In fact, in 2021, there was in increase in the number of households needing urgent support. Many families depend on irregular and badly-paid work in the informal economy. They struggle to make ends meet and access basic services like housing, education and health.

Your support makes a difference for children in Santiago de los Caballeros

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
Having access to technology is crucial for distance learning (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Dominican Republic).

How your support helps in Santiago de los Caballeros

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.