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

Antofagasta is the largest city in Northern Chile, and the capital of the Antofagasta region. It has a population of 451,000 people. Antofagasta is well connected. There is a central railway line that leads to the mines, neighbouring countries like Argentina and Bolivia, as well as urbanized regions in the North and South of Chile. The copper mines found in the area are a key contributor to the city’s economy. But children and young people who move here with their families face many risks.

Since 1987, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Antofagasta.

5 times
Poorer performance due to contamination

Pollution is affecting development

Water pollution in Antofagasta is having a negative impact on the brain development of children. This is because Antofagasta is one of the world’s top copper mining regions in the world, and poor mining practices have contaminated water sources. Reports reveal that children who lived near mining waste disposal sites and contaminated water sources suffered. The results of the assessments were compared with children of similar age and socioeconomic statuses from other cities in Chile, and the children from Antofagasta faired five times poorer.

Families live in poor housing

Children living in slums

Antofagasta is the most expensive city to live in in Chile, after Santiago. Despite this, the city has seen an increase of people in search of work, mainly in the large copper mining companies. The city’s geographical position also makes it well connected to other areas where they can find work. The growing informal settlements around Antofagasta have poor infrastructure, with young children living in badly-made houses with no access to clean drinking water or sanitation. Basic services such as healthcare and childcare are far from these settlements, leaving young parents who are seeking work without support for their children.

Your support makes a difference for children in Antofagasta

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.
Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Grow up in our care
Writing carefully. Children in our care often enjoy writing and doing other homework with their siblings after school (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Chile).

How your support helps in Antofagasta

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
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 until the age of 14. Around the age of 14, young people are supported so that they can move to another care organization. Boys and girls are looked after separately, and the care they receive there is very similar to that which they would receive in SOS Children’s Villages. The young people are supported during this move and the team stays in touch with them as they settle into their new homes. 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.