SOS Children in Ecuador

EcuadorOverview of Ecuador

Ecuador in South America is the smallest of the Andean countries. The discovery of oil in the 1960s led to rapid growth and real progress in health, education and housing. However, falling oil prices in the 1990s drove the economy into recession. Steps taken to stabilise the economy have generated widespread unrest, primarily among the indigenous poor.

Our Work in Ecuador

SOS Children has been working in Ecuador since 1963. There are now six communities which are home to over 600 orphaned and abandoned children and young people. A number of SOS projects also support vulnerable children and their families in their local community to help them to stay together.

At present there are six SOS Children's Villages, SOS Youth Homes at five locations, SOS Nurseries, 11 SOS Social Centres and two SOS Vocational Training Centres.


The first SOS Children’s Village opened in the community of Quito in 1963. The Village has the capacity to care Child from Quito, Ecuador for 108 children in 12 family houses. We also provide medical care facilities on the Village site. In 1995 the community here was expanded to include two SOS Youth Homes (one for boys and one for girls), where young people can live under the guidance of qualified youth workers whilst they undertake further education or vocational training. An SOS Vocational Training Centre provides training and guidance to support SOS mothers and co-workers in their roles and help them to develop new skills. As part of our commitment to community care, between 1991 and 1994 SOS Children established six SOS Social Centres in the poorest parts of Quito. The SOS Social Centres provide day-care facilities where the children of working parents and single-mothers are looked after during the day. This helps parents to enter paid employment and support their families financially.


In 1979, SOS Children opened a second Village in Esmeraldas, about 30 km from the northern provincial capital. Close to the Pacific Ocean and one of Ecuador's most beautiful beaches, it has 12 family houses offering a home to 108 children, two SOS Youth Homes and an SOS Nursery. An SOS Social Centre opened in 1997 supports approximately 40 local families a year with medical care and day care for children of working parents and single mothers.


The third SOS Village was opened in Ibarra in 1979. The Village is located approximately 140 km from the capital Quito on the lagoon of Yahuarcocha. It has twelve family houses, two youth houses and a nursery. The village also has a training centre for SOS mothers and staff, where they can share their experiences and learn new skills. A SOS Social Centre supports families in the community.


Our fourth community opened in Cuenca, on the outskirts of the town in 1997. The Village consists of 12 family houses built in the local architectural style. These offer a new home to up to 108 orphaned and abandoned children. There is an SOS Nursery in the Village whilst the older children attend local schools in Ricaurte. The Village also has two SOS Youth Homes which offer a home and a youth counselling service to up to 13 older children. The SOS Social Centre run Family Strengthening Programmes which supports local families to stay together.


We opened a community in Portoviejo in 1999 in the province of Manabi in the South West of the country. The area here suffered widespread flooding from “El Nino” in 1998. In the aftermath, we ran an Emergency Relief Programme supplying food, medical supplies and temporary shelter to families affected. An SOS Children's Village was then constructed to provide long-term support for children who had lost their parents. The Village has 12 family houses and an SOS Nursery. A communal room in the Village provides space for families to socialise together. An SOS Social Centre operates in the area, providing community development programmes and a sustainable approach towards family strengthening.


A sixth SOS Children's Village in Ecuador is currently being built in Guayaquil in the southwest of the country. At present the project is supporting 36 children in rented accommodation and the families will soon move into the newly constructed houses.

Life in SOS Children's Villages Ecuador: A new family, a new opportunity

SOS mother and family, Ecuador

This is the life story of a courageous woman who decided to dedicate her life to social care over a year ago. She started training as an SOS mother, passing through all the training stages required to obtain an SOS mother's diploma, and today she is responsible for a new SOS family.

Last May, this goal became real when Elsy received her first five children in her new SOS family. As most children do at the village, the kids came from quite a difficult social environment. The kids looked afraid and rather aggressive. The new SOS mother, though, had been well prepared to confront this type of situation, so she did not find it difficult to welcome new children into her home.

Today, with the support of the other SOS mothers in the village, Elsy ensures that her children lack nothing: their daily food, clothing and personal cleanliness is guaranteed. She teaches them the basic chores of the house but emphasizes that the children relax and little by little gain the necessary trust to begin a mother/child relationship. "This is not something which is granted overnight but with the day to day living, with the experiences lived as a family... the coexistence, the solution of problems together when they come up, the moments of illnesses and sorrow, and the moments of great happiness," says Elsy with conviction.

These children had been hurt, so, needing affection, support, care, and love, they found in Elsy much of what they needed to appease their fears. Although they are in the process of adapting to their new SOS family, they feel well and cared for. "The village is very beautiful, my room has everything, and I have my toys... Mummy Elsy cooks well... and I like my new toothbrush," says one of the children.   

"It is a wonderful sensation," comments Elsy. "I always dreamt of this moment. Before, I could only figure out the children, their reactions, their emotions, etc., so I was fearful at the beginning, because it was going to be a new experience for me… but reality was quite different. Meeting my new children was very moving... I am happy with my children. I want a lot for them, I want to do more for them, I want them to be well and, with the support of everyone in the village, I know I will be able to make it. I have a lot of faith in this."  

The community of SOS Children's Village Portoviejo knows that Elsy will gradually learn from her new family, like so many other mothers did for decades in the organization. They have raised and educated generations of children who gradually became mature, responsible adults.

Local Contact

Aldeas Infantiles SOS Ecuador   

Casilla Postal 17-17-1852   



Tel: +593/2/33 16583, +593/2/33 17561   

Fax: +593/2/225 57 60   



Make a difference to an ongoing emergency or when a new disaster hits by making a donation to SOS Children’s emergency relief projects.