SOS Children's Village Potosí

The SOS Children's Village Potosí is one of the most recent projects implemented by SOS-Kinderdorf International in the Andean country. Construction work was started in August 1998 and was finished in the year 2000. The site of SOS Children's Village Potosí is situated in the Bolivian highlands in the city of the same name about 3,960 meters above sea level. The climate of this highlands region is decidedly cold and the economy has always been based on mining but due to decreasing raw material prices, many mines had to be closed down. Unemployment and poverty made many families move to the central regions of Bolivia. Begging children and child labour are a common part of everyday life in the city that, in 1545, was known as one of the richest cities in the world and it was said that it would even be possible to build a bridge of silver from Potosí to Spain with its riches.

SOS Children's Village Potosí is situated in the area named after the hill "La Chaca" at the foot of the city and can easily be reached by bus or by car. Public schools, markets and a hospital are located next to the SOS Children's Village. SOS Children's Village Potosí consists of twelve family houses for 108 children in total, the village director's house, an administrative building, and also a house for the SOS aunts (SOS Children’s Village mothers in training, who assist current SOS mothers in their everyday work, and stand in for them if they are ill or on holiday). An SOS Youth Facility and an SOS Social Centre are also part of SOS Children's Village Potosí.

For youngsters from the SOS Children's Village, an SOS Youth Facility has been set up in town. Young people usually move from the SOS Children's Village to an SOS Youth Facility when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified youth workers, the young people develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.

The SOS Social Centre opened in January 2003 and consists of a health care centre and a day-care centre which can provide day time supervision for up to 120 children. The day-care centre is equipped with two rooms for child supervision, three classrooms for older children, a dining room, a seminar room for further adult education, a kitchen, and secondary rooms. The SOS medical centre includes a paediatric and dental surgery and a small dispensary. This outpatient facility makes an important contribution towards improving living conditions in the vicinity of SOS Children's Village Potosí. The day-care centre is particularly valuable for single mothers as it enables them to earn or at least contribute towards earning money for their family, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by trained staff.