The country's first SOS Children's Village was built on a 5-acre site on the right bank of the river Rimac at a distance of about 5 km from the city centre of Lima.
Opened in May 1975 the SOS Children's Village Zárate consists of 15 family houses, where up to 135 children can find a new home, the village director's house, a house for the so-called 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 community building with rooms for functions and festivities, and an administration and service area. The village has its own dentist's office.
The SOS Kindergarten inside the SOS Children's Village is open to children from the local community as well. It consists of four classrooms, where up to 80 pre-school children can be looked after.
For youngsters from the SOS Children's Village, seven SOS Youth Facilities have been set up in town. They consist of shared flats which, on the whole, accommodate up to 90 youngsters.
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.
Two SOS Social Centres have been set up in town, SOS Social Centres Caraballyo and Huáscar. Both are open to the local community. Their programmes have been specially adapted to the needs of the people.
The main aim of the Social Centers is to alleviate hardship and thereby prevent families from abandoning their children. Both SOS Social Centres run day-care centres, where pre-school children are looked after. This makes it possible for the children's mothers, most of whom are single mothers, to go to work and make a living for themselves and their children. The SOS Social Centres also offer evening classes and training for adults, and they provide destitute people with basic medical care.
All in all, up to 500 mothers and children benefit from the programmes of the two SOS Social Centres.
SOS Vocational Training Centre Chaclacayo is also situated in Lima. At this centre, which was opened in 1998, SOS mothers and other co-workers are trained. It consists of a classroom, five bedrooms, a common room, which also serves as dining room, a kitchen, and an administration area. The maximum number of participants in the training workshops offered at the SOS Vocational Training Centre is 17. Apart from initial training courses for new co-workers, the centre also offers workshops for co-workers who have been with SOS Children's Village for some time.