Latin America

A world region of extremes

Latin America – a diverse world region. The existence of many big cities in Latin America suggest that many positive economic developments were made in the last decades. However, mainly due to civil wars and political instability, many Latin American countries are experiencing a recession and high unemployment from which above all the poorest suffer. But another global phenomenon is also particularly evident in Latin America: the pollution of the environment, deforestation and climate change first threaten the indigenous people in Latin America first, but then the whole mankind on Earth.

The situation of the people

Travellers visiting remote places on the continent far from the big cities will notice the poverty of many people in Latin America. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of the people are affected. The favelas or slums are growing in the cities because people do not see any perspective in staying in their regions, due to droughts or unemployment. Women are more affected than men as they earn less even if they perform the same work. In addition, there is another big social problem in Latin America: the widely spread illiteracy. Although it was possible to give a growing number of people access to school education, most people later work in the informal sector, where there is no labour legislation to protect them. In Latin America, Kolping wants to be part of a strong civil society in which politics are controlled and visions of the common good are formulated for all people.

How we help


The project work of Kolping began in 1967 in Brazil. The first training centres were founded here. Vocational qualification is an important focus as help for self-help. By now, Kolping is represented in nearly all countries of South America. The vocational and advanced training of young people and adults are still the main issues and also small loans are an important element of the project work since, the people can become self-employed as small entrepreneurs thanks to the acquired knowledge. Apart from the associational work, the focus in South America lies on social assistance for children and their families as well as on cistern projects in the northeast of Brazil.


Only those who have learnt something, see chances and perspectives for the future. Therefore, Kolping trains young people in a profession. The spectrum is large, ranging from repairing computers and mobile phones to classical professions like tailor, mechanic, cook or hairdresser.

Small loans

Small loans help to establish an own small business and earn money. A little financial impulse, a breeder animal or a single machine is often enough to lay the foundation for growth and development.


A cistern helps the people in their daily life. They no longer have to walk for miles to the waterhole every day. Especially women and children benefit from it as it is traditionally their duty to get the water. Now, the children can go to school instead of dragging water. The farmers also have water for their fields.

Associational work

There are many sociopolitical activities in the Kolping Families. Special actions and programs are e.g. an active contribution to a culture of peace in the Colombian society. Environmental protection is important for all associations. Members are trained and encouraged to be elected to political bodies in their communities to co-shape society positively.