SOS Children in El Salvador

El Salvador mapOverview of El Salvador

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated state on the mainland of the Americas, and the most industrialized in Central America. However, poverty, civil war, natural disasters and their consequent dislocations define much of contemporary El Salvador, which is among the most violent and crime-ridden countries in the Americas.

Hospitals and health facilities are not enough to meet demand and are lacking in the basic medicines, equipment and trained staff that they require. In rural areas up to 90 per cent of people do not have access to clean drinking water and 70 per cent to any form of sanitation. Severe malnutrition is also common. Despite the provision of free education, 20 per cent of the population is illiterate. The few schools available are poorly equipped. Many children cannot attend school because it is too far away, or because they are needed by their parents to help with farm work in order to maintain the family income

Our Work in El Salvador

We began working in El Salvador in 1972. Today there are four SOS Children's Villages with ancillary social welfare and medical facilities providing support and care for the wider community.


We built our first community in the small town of Sonsonate, about 60 km west of San Salvador. It is now used exclusively as a community where SOS youngsters can take their first guided steps towards independence whilst completing their education or vocational training, whilst in 1990 a new SOS Children's Village was built just outside Sonsonate. The SOS Children's Village Sonsonate has 12 family houses, an SOS Nursery for both the SOS and local children and an SOS Social Centre which provides day care for local children and medical care and dentistry. Children from the Village attend local schools in nearby Sonzacate.

Santa Tecla

Sponsor a child in El SalvadorSOS Children's Village Santa Tecla opened in 1982 in the city of Santa Tecla, about 25 km west of El Salvador. Built on a former coffee plantation, it has twelve family houses, a youth house for the older children and a SOS Nursery, as well as fruit and vegetable gardens supplying the village's needs. Around 150 children and teenagers live in the Village, attending the local schools.

Santa Ana

We built a community in 1985 on the outskirts of Santa Ana, the country's second largest city. The Village has 13 family houses and a youth house, as well as a SOS Nursery. Vocational training opportunities are provided in various workshops and the Village's own coffee plantation and farm. Schools and medical facilities are available nearby.

San Miguel

The fourth community in El Salvador is in the city of San Miguel close to the Honduran border and is situated in a residential area near the city centre, with schools and shops nearby. It has 15 family houses and a day care centre which has a creche and an SOS Nursery, used by the local community. There is also a small medical centre.

San Vicente

SOS Children's Village San Vicente is situated in the northwest of the region's capital, the town of San Vicente. It consists of 13 family houses, the director's house and administrative buildings, community rooms and a playground. It opened its doors in June 2004. There is an adjoining SOS Social Centre, which comprises a child day-care centre as well as training workshops. 

In 1998, SOS Children established an emergency relief programme after Hurricane “Mitch” hit Central America, providing 2000 families with food and medical aid, and temporary accommodation for over 100 children who had lost their families. A further aid programme was mounted in 2001 following the earthquake which damaged some of the SOS facilities. Food, medical supplies, clothing and emergency shelter were provided for over 500 families in El Limon and Zacasil and for 1000 families in San Vicente, 80 km east of San Salvador.

Life in SOS Children’s Villages El Salvador: History of a mother

This is the history of a mother who benefited by the community home 'Cantón Santa Anita':

Julia Elizabeth is originally from the small village 'El Puente' of the county Santa Anita, municipality of San Cristóbal in the department of Cuscatlán. She has her own house, which was constructed after the earthquakes of 2001 by an international NGO.

She is mother to four children and entered the community centre in July 2007; now her sons and daughters benefit from the care and daily protection in the community home "El Puente".

Before the Family Strengthening Programme existed in the community, she had to take the older children with her and leave the smaller ones alone in her house.  Now, the older children go to school and the smaller ones stay in the community home.  This allows Julia to work, without worrying about the security of her children.

Due to her participation in the Family Strengthening Programme, Julia can now organize her time better and she participates actively in the meetings that take place both in the school and in the community home where her children attend. Thanks to the support that she receives from the Family Strengthening Programme, she has improved her income and now she can give a better quality of life to her children.

"One of my biggest dreams is to continue working so that my children get a chance to study and become good people, no matter how much sacrifice it takes", she affirms.

Local Contact

Asociación Aldeas Infantiles SOS de El Salvador

Apartado postal 01-395    

San Salvador    

El Salvador    

Tel: +503/222 54 366, +503/222 58 409    

Fax: +503/222 50 318    



Did you know? An SOS mother will often work for SOS Children for many years, caring for several generations of children.