El Salvador

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages El Salvador).

With its coastal belt and central plateau, El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. There are around 7 million Salvadorans, who are mostly concentrated around the capital of San Salvador. At least 20% of Salvadorans live abroad. Many of them left the country during the civil war, which cost 75,000 lives and ended in 1992. Today, El Salvador has one of the world's highest homicide rates and criminal gangs are a problem. In addition, the country is frequently affected by natural disasters, earthquakes, and hurricanes.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in El Salvador since 1972.

Children are at risk

In El Salvador, the end of the war was not the end of violence. The country currently has the sixth highest murder rate in the world, a fact that is partly attributed to intense gang activities. Violence is often linked to poverty – with 36% of the population living in poverty, local families cannot always guarantee protection for their children. Natural disasters are a real risk to people’s safety too. These events are expected to become more frequent and powerful. Children and young people living in vulnerable families are often the first to experience the negative effects of climate change.
Of the population lives in poverty


Around 36% of the population of El Salvador lives in poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living that happened in the following years has meant that many children and young people are living in poverty. Children and young people who live in poverty are less likely to stay in school, and they are also less likely to be able to access health care when they need it. Their parents need extra support so that children can grow up healthily in a safe environment.

Of young children are not in school


In El Salvador, 7% of children are not going to primary school. Forced displacement, threats, kidnapping, sexual violence, and homicides – extreme violence has a profound impact on society, but it also has a devastating effect on education. In the many neighbourhoods of El Salvador that are controlled by criminal gangs, 40 per cent children do not have access to education. And, without education, gangs are more likely recruit or exploit children and young people.

Under-five mortality rate


Around 13 out of 1000 children die before the age of 5. This mortality rate of children under 5 years old directly reflects issues affecting child health and well-being across El Salvador. It also reveals the lack of access of many families to basic health care. Around 9% of births are not registered. Children without official identification documents can be denied health care or education. In addition they can more easily be forced to marry or work before the legal age.

Together we can make a difference for children in El Salvador

Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Young people and adults
Can attend trainings
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
When children or young people cannot live with their families, they find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. We protect and support children and young people so that they become confident and independent. As they get older we help them develop a plan for their future (photo: SOS Children’s Villages El Salvador).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives