Santa Maria

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

Around 260,000 people live in Santa Maria. It is located in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, to the west of Porto Alegre. Porto Alegre was one of 50 most violent cities in the world in 2017. The rising murder rate was fueled by increasing poverty rates, soaring crime and drug gangs spreading over the state. Children and young people growing up here need extra support so that they can grow up safely.

Since 1980, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Santa Maria.

Of children and young people live in extreme poverty

Children living in poverty

Around 12% of children and young people are living in extreme poverty in Brazil. Many children who grow up in poverty do not go to school – they often have to drop out of education to contribute to the family income. It is often difficult for them to stay healthy- there may be a lack of nutritious food, or they may not have access to clear water or other basic services. A Brazilian study examined how childhood poverty also affects the mental health of children and young people .

Children and young people are sexually exploited yearly

Children at risk of sexual exploitation

Children and young people in Brazil are at risk of being sexually exploited in different settings across the country. Around 500,000 reports of sexual exploitation of children are recorded each year. However, this is not an accurate picture of the extent of exploitation. One study showed that74% of people do not report sexual exploitation when they see it. The Brazilian Ministry of Human Rights launched a free hotline “Dial 100” to encourage people to report cases

Your support makes a difference for children in Santa Maria

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
Playing with the pet cat. Children in our care grow up together and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Brazil).

How your support helps in Santa Maria

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 Village Santa María. 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. Further support in provided in the nearby SOS Children’s Village Porto Alegre.