SOS Social Centres in Guatemala

In Guatemala there are currently 12 Social Centres for children and the local community, including those in Chiantla and Patzun.  Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community.  Below is some information about some of the Social Centres that SOS Children runs in Guatemala:

SOS Social Centres around Guatemala: In-Depth

SC PatzunChiantla

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

The programme in Chiantla, Huehuetenango started operations in 2008 with the community centre “Unidos en Acción” [Together in Action], it is located in a community named San Antonio.

Work and Achievements:

Nowadays four additional community centres are operating in benefit of one 183 children that belong to 109 families.

To strengthen the capacities of the participating families, several activities are carried out; providing training to community mothers is relevant to assure that they are prepared to provide care and protection to the participating children. This is a benefit that will improve the psychosocial development of each child participating in the programme.

In the centres all services are offered to participants according to components. The child component includes day care spaces, health, nutrition and psychosocial development.  It is evident that the children have improved their nutrition in each of the centres.

Diseases have also been prevented through vaccination campaigns carried out in the centres with the coordination and collaboration of the Ministry of Health.

Families of children attending the program also play an important role, their participation in the services of women and family component develops skills through personal development workshops of human rights. Literacy programme are also offered to the parents. By participating in these activities, families develop skills that will benefit children


Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

The SOS Children's Villages programme in Patzun, started operations in 2007 with the social centre. Nowadays, beside the social centre, three community centres located in rural areas benefit 209 children from 129 families mostly belonging to the Cakchiquel ethnic Mayan group.

SC GuatemalaNuevo San Carlos

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

The start of operations of the Family Strengthening Programme in the location of Nuevo San Carlos took place in June, 2007 with the social centre located in the community of Candelaria Xolhuitz, nowadays there are three community centres and one social centre that benefit 123 children from 63 families of the aforementioned location.

Work and Achievements:

The nutritional improvement in each participating children is evident. Each participant receives breakfast, lunch and two snacks therefore this allows them to have an adequate nutrition to develop their skills which is complemented with the care and attention that they receive in the centre.

Diseases have also been prevented through vaccination campaigns carried out in the centres with the coordination and collaboration of the Ministry of Health looking forward to decrease morbidity in Nuevo San Carlos.

As it is a community participation programme it is important that the families of the children get involved. This is performed human rights and personal development workshops, alphabetization is provided to any illiterate person. These activities are possible thanks to the coordination with other public and private organizations that join efforts looking forward for the community development.

It is also important that the family committees develop the necessary skills to be self-sufficient to perform all activities, to achieve that they carry out monthly meetings and discuss topics of their interest.

Involvement with key community actors are relevant for the programme progress, Community Development Councils [COCODES for its acronym in Spanish], are integrated by neighbours of the community who have the function to promote, facilitate and support the community organization and participation in social development.

The Municipality is another key ally the municipal Corporation in Nuevo San Carlos has supported the participation of family committees and mainly benefited the participant children.

As of 2009 a Protection network was integrated, different governmental and non governmental organizations participate with the aim, to coordinate actions in benefit of people in need, one of the priority groups are women and children.


Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

An SOS Social Centre is currently being run on the site of former SOS Children's Village Sacatepéquez. Guatemala's difficult socio-economic situation, brought about by years of civil war, has affected large families and single mothers worst of all. This made the construction of further SOS Children's Village facilities necessary over the past decades. There are SOS Children's Villages in Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Jocotán, San Cristóbal and San Jerónimo. During the past years, the organisation has reinforced prevention of child abandonment with family strengthening programmes, especially with child-care facilities and child-minding programmes.


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