Kindernothilfe. Working together.

Remarkable cultural accomplishments but also a high degree of violence and inequality

Latin America's rich history bears witness to a remarkable cultural heritage such as Machu Picchu, the fabled citadel of the Incas. Yet, the region's history has also been marred by a high degree of violence and inequality since the colonial era. There have been wars of conquest and liberation, civil wars and drug wars. All of this has had a huge impact on society, causing deep divisions and leaving large segments of the population in poverty. There are seven Latin American countries among the ten countries in the world with the highest murder rates. Today, minorities along with indigenous groups are still excluded and disadvantaged in many places.

It is the children who suffer the most under such conditions. In Guatemala, for instance, roughly 70 percent are subjected to beatings, sexual abuse and other violence at home. In Honduras nearly 20 percent of girls and boys die before their first birthday. Sixty percent of the entire population lives below the poverty line. Indigenous groups are hit particularly hard by these conditions.

A Wide Income and Inequality Gap

Educational and social systems have made considerable progress in recent years: Over 70 percent of children in Latin America attend primary school and nearly 95 percent of young people can read and write. Yet, the quality of services still remains poor in many places. Increasingly, stronger civil societies are at the vanguard of this positive development.

To make matters worse, indigenous groups and minorities are often excluded from progress, further marginalising them from the rest of society and making it more difficult for them to break out of the cycle of poverty. Children with special needs are particularly affected.Another major problem in Latin America and the Caribbean is that some countries and regions are frequently affected by natural disasters, such as Haiti (earthquake 2010), Chile (earthquake 2010), Guatemala and Honduras (hurricane 2005).

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Our work in Latin America and the Caribbean

As in Africa and Asia, we work collaboratively with local partners to combat the most severe child rights violations and their causes. We tackle complex problems with comprehensive projects for community development and with self-help programmes. We support children and their families socially, economically and politically so they can tap into their own huge potential – a potential that is shared by all people, even the poorest and supposedly weakest members of society, as proven by our many successes to date.

In particularly acute and severe cases of children's rights violations, such as sexual abuse, our partner organisations also perform social work by giving the victims temporary refuge in shelters and providing them with psychosocial and legal support.

The main focus of our work in Latin America and the Caribbean includes preventing violence and abuse and working with marginalised groups such as indigenous people and children with disabilities.


In Bolivia, our projects focus on combating poverty and supporting children with special needs.


Brazil is characterised by enormous inequality between rich and poor. Many children are caught up early on in a spiral of violence, poverty, drugs and prostitution. We help these children with health and education interventions.


Our work in Chile focuses on disadvantaged groups: indigenous communities, teenage mothers, working children, immigrant children and victims of violence.


Ecuador is characterised by large social inequalities and the indigenous population often suffers from discrimination. Community projects inform the children of their rights and how to demand that rights are respected.


Guatemala’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in Latin America. Healthcare and education are particularly poor in rural areas.


After the earthquake in 2010, Haiti has not been spared further disasters. Cholera, hurricanes and abject poverty have weakened the country, which is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.


Honduras is plagued by violent crime. This has extreme serious consequences for child development. Our projects help children and their families to escape the spiral of violence.


Peru is struggling with widespread poverty and a lack of educational opportunities. Our educational projects give children a better future.