SOS Children's Village Maracaibo SOS Children's Village Maracaibo (previously known as SOS Children’s Village La Cañada) is located around 35 kilometres south of central Maracaibo, the country's second largest city. Nearly half of the population of the Lake Maracaibo region are poor. Basic items, food and medicines are extremely expensive and in short supply. Children from vulnerable families are at risk of not having enough to eat, not going to school, and not getting medical care. We are supporting the community so that the families can stay together. Life in Maracaibo is a daily struggle At the playground (photo: SOS Archives) The vast majority of "zulianos", as the people of Maracaibo are commonly referred to, live in poverty. In addition, just like in the country's capital Caracas, crime rates in Maracaibo have been rising over the last few years. According to reports from Maracaibo, children are at risk of neglect, abuse and abandonment. As in other areas of the country, families are struggling to find enough to eat, to get access to medical care and to ensure that children receive an education. As wages drop, and prices soar, a significant number of children are forced to rummage in bins, or to work in order to contribute to the family´s income. Children who have lost parental care or those at risk of losing it, often experience violence and aggression. Maracaibo is close to the border with Colombia, and in recent months, an increasing number of people have crossed into Colombia in search of food, safety, health care and a better future for the next generation. Children need your support Thousands of families are struggling and are in need of assistance. SOS Children's Village Maracaibo is one of three SOS Children's Villages in Venezuela. We care for children and young people who have lost, or risk losing, parental care. We also support vulnerable families in the communities near where we work. As a non-governmental organisation, we are committed to the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and to defending the rights of children to grow up in a safe and caring environment. What we do in Maracaibo Children who have lost parental care grow up in SOS families (photo: SOS archives) Since 1979 SOS Children's Villages has been supporting vulnerable children and their families. These services include family strengthening programmes that aim to prevent family break-ups, loving homes for children who lose parental care, advice and counselling at our SOS Social Centres. Strengthen families: At the SOS Social Centres, we offer family strengthening programmes that aim to strengthen existing family ties so that children can grow up within their own family. Due to the current situation, we have increased our activities in order to reach more families that are vulnerable. Care in SOS families: SOS Children's Village Maracaibo comprises SOS families where children are looked after in a loving home by an SOS parent. The families live in homes in the community. The families receive the same support from SOS Children`s Villages. Living in the community gives children the chance to develop closer relationships with new neighbours and friends. These relationships will help support them as they grow. Support for young people: Since 1996, SOS Children's Villages has also been supporting young people. With the support of our qualified staff, the young people develop perspectives for their future and learn to shoulder responsibility as they lead semi-independent lives.