SOS Children's Village Cali

The sixth SOS Children's Village of Colombia was built in the city of Cali, the capital of the Valle del Cauca state, in the south west of the country, some 500 kilometres from the country's capital, Bogotá.

Due to the number of its inhabitants, Cali is the third most important city of the country, after Bogotá and Medellín. Cali is the centre of development of the Colombian south west, as it has access to the port of Buenaventura on the Pacific coast, some 100 kilometres from the city. It is also an industrial and agricultural centre with important national and international companies based there.

For all these blessings and positive developments, the number of poor people in the city is on the rise, because many people have moved there from the surrounding region, especially from the Pacific coast, as a result of violence and lack of employment opportunities. The city's population also includes victims of violence who have been chased from the south and centre of the country. The majority of the displaced are women and children from agricultural regions or from other parts of the city.

According to a study by Universidad del Valle, 52.3% of Valle del Cauca's population lives below the poverty line (less than two dollars a day) and 15.8% below the destitution line (less than one dollar a day). Only 62% of the population has access to health care. Cali is significantly affected by the realities of drug trafficking and the resulting disruption of the regional economy. There is a need for social projects to create opportunities for children who can no longer live with their biological families.

SOS Children's Village Cali is comprised of twelve family houses and the usual ancillary buildings such as the director's house, a house for SOS aunts (SOS mother trainees or family helpers who support the SOS mothers during their daily work and fill in for them when they are ill or on leave), a service and administration area, a multi-purpose building and a guard's house. It will provide a loving and caring home to up to 126 children. There is also an SOS Social Centre, which offers family strengthening programmes. Vulnerable families are organised in so-called family committees which run community homes and child-minding centres in community spaces; these homes and centres are self-organising and self-managing, with SOS Children's Villages providing training and capacity building.