Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea. With a population of 3 million people, it’s the third most populous English-speaking country in the Americas.
Gang violence is a serious issue and Jamaica’s murder rate has been one of the highest in the world for some time now. In 2021, it was 54 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Children and young people are in need of protection. For example, Jamaica has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies among English-speaking countries in the Caribbean.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Jamaica since 1972.
Around 85% of children experienced violent discipline in Jamaica. When children are subjected to violence from such an early age, it has a significant impact on their physical and mental health, life and school achievements.
Children experience violence at home, school and in the local community, often from family members or people they know and trust. For many, violence is part of their everyday life. Children, young people and families need support so that they can lead a life free from violence.
Rural areas of Jamaica tend to have higher poverty rates than cities. Poverty affects many aspects of children’s lives including health and education. Whether children go to school or not is often linked to family circumstance such as the income and educational levels of parents.
Families with many children especially struggle to feed their children nutritional foods, this can lead to malnutrition and stunting which affects brain development.
Jamaica has the third highest teen pregnancy rates in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Many adolescent girls don’t have access to sexual reproductive health education or contraception. Pregnancy is one of the main factors for girls dropping out of school.
In Jamaica pregnant girls are excluded from attending public educational institutions by law. These girls are in need of special support to help them complete their education while pregnant and learning to be a mother.