Photo: ACT/Sean Hawkey
Latin America is the most unequal region in the world and this inequality affects half of the continent’s children. In order to help feed their families, many children begin working before they reach age 10. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are approximately 9 million children and youth exposed to forced labor in the region.
Some children and youth go out to work to escape drug use and violence at home, only to be exposed to the same on the streets, where they often end up living. These children are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation and other forms of violence. Despite the fact that violence affects some 6 million children it is an issue still largely ignored by the public and government officials, making its eradication all the more difficult.
CWS in the region
CWS works with local organizations to protect vulnerable children from all forms of violence and to expand opportunities to at-risk youth in some of the poorest and most violent communities of Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Uruguay. The five countries involved represent four of the major sub-regions and political and socio-cultural contexts of Latin America-Caribbean.
Our partner organizations have been chosen because of the quality of their programs and their commitment to the defence and promotion of children´s rights. Each has demonstrated its ability to leverage local resources and participation. Their services are holistic, address the root causes of problems, and are closely linked with local advocacy.
They exercise leadership and influence in their communities and their local networks and at the same time are open and generous about sharing their insights, contacts and methodologies, which is a key to the success of the exchanges and other regional initiatives CWS promotes.
Until 2012 these organizations were part of a CWS Regional Children’s Program. You can read the 2011 report here or visit this link to find out about its main achievements.