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

Canelones is both a department and city situated in the south of Uruguay. It is home to 530,000 residents. It borders the country’s capital, Montevideo. Many people live in Canelones and commute to Montevideo for work. The city has rivers and streams alongside flat lands, providing the best environment for vineyards. Alongside intensive agriculture, many families in Canelones itself live off working in the flour and paper mills.

Since 2010, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Canelones.

Of children under 14 live in poverty

Children living in poverty

Canelones’s picturesque landscape was once an attractive region for tourists. However, the volume of tourism has drastically fallen due to social problems rampant in the country as well as the neighbouring economic crisis in Argentina. With the loss of jobs and the threat of poverty, theft and petty crime are on the rise. Unemployment rates are high, mainly among young people. Reports also highlight how women and children living in rural areas are the most affected. Women have limited access to employment opportunities and children are forced to leave school to find work.

People in Uruguay live in shanty towns

Poor housing and sanitation

As Canelones borders the country’s capital, Montevideo, there has been an increase in the number of people who move here from rural Uruguay. They are looking for employment and a better life. However, the infrastructure could not keep up. Shantytowns, also known as “Cantegrils” in Uruguay, began to emerge across the city. These living quarters are made poorly from corrugated tin, scrap wood and cardboard. Access to drinking water and sewage services proves to be a challenge in these informal settlements. With poor sanitation, the shantytowns have turned into hot spots for transmission of diseases. And children living here lack access to schools and health care.

Your support makes a difference for children in Canelones

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.
Attend our day-care centres
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Face painting is always popular. After school and during weekends and holidays children spend a lot of time together and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Uruguay).

How your support helps in Canelones

Providing quality education and day care
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten and day-care centres. This prepares them for primary 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. Some children live in different neighbourhoods of the city, alongside local families. We also support foster families. 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.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.