SOS Children's Village Ricaurte was opened in 1997 and is located in the small town of the same name a few kilometres outside Cuenca, the capital of the province Azuay. Cuenca is often referred to as the 'Athens of Ecuador' as it is famous for its poets and artists. Cuenca has a population of about 300,000 and is known for its universities and its factories that make ceramics and furniture.
The SOS Children's Village was built on 2.5 hectares of land and has twelve family houses that provide a new home to a total of 108 children. The Children's Village also has a village director's house, an administrative building with offices and 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).
The SOS Kindergarten was likewise opened in 1997 and provides supervision for up to 50 children from the SOS Children's Village and the local neighbourhood in its two group rooms. Two SOS Youth Facilities (for girls and boys) were created in urban Cuenca in 2001. Young people from the SOS Children's Village can be housed here for the period of their secondary or vocational education, which gradually prepares them for an independent life.
Since January 2006, an SOS Social Centre also forms part of the SOS Children's Village Ricaurte. The SOS Social Centre is run as a day-care centre and has a capacity of up to 90 children. The day-care centre is particularly valuable to single mothers from the area as it enables them to earn or at least contribute towards earning money for the family, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by trained supervisors.
Information events are held on health, balanced diets and other health issues. Supporting women is also a central concern. Further vocational training in a range of manual work is available for women, so as to improve single mothers' qualifications and therefore increase their income and improve their societal status.