The children of Macedonia had suffered during years of war, therefore with assistance from Macedonia's United Nations representative, SOS Children’s Villages started working in the country in 1995. SOS Children’s Villages has continued to expand its work in the country, responding to the needs of children and families at risk in the capital city of Skopje. At present there is one SOS Children's Village, one Youth Facility and two SOS Social Centres in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
SOS Children's Villages in Macedonia
In addition to providing family-based care in SOS families, SOS Children's Villages has created a series of new programmes to support children, young people, and families from the local community. In conjunction with local agencies, family-strengthening programmes were started in 2007, thus enabling children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to access support.
Sponsor a Child in Macedonia
SOS relies on the kindness and generosity of Canadians to be able to provide a home for the most vulnerable children of Macedonia.
By becoming a child sponsor you are making a commitment to helping an individual child in need. Your gift will help provide a child with food, clothing, education and a loving SOS mother.
Please help us ensure a loving home for every Macedonian child. Sponsor a child in Macedonia now. Your donation will help change an orphaned or abandoned child's life.
Some facts about Macedonia
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a landlocked country bordering Serbia in the north, Kosovo in the northwest, Bulgaria in the east, Greece in the south, and Albania in the west. The capital city is Skopje with about half a million inhabitants. The population is 2 million (July 2011 est.), 64 per cent are Macedonia, around a quarter of the population is ethnic Albanian. Other minorities include: Turks (3.9 per cent), Roma (2.7 per cent) and Serbs (1.8 per cent). The official language is Macedonian. Most Albanians and Turks are Muslim, most of the Slavs are members of the Eastern Orthodox or Macedonian Orthodox Churches.
A fall in living standards
Although Macedonia’s economy has been slowly improving since 1991, it still has one of the lowest per capita gross domestic product in Europe. The standard of living has actually fallen since independence. Furthermore, there is a growing gap in incomes. Unemployment rates are persistently high and currently estimated to be at 32 per cent. Nearly 29 per cent of the population lives below the nationally-established poverty line. This combination of poverty and high unemployment has forced many people to move abroad in search of work.
Most Macedonians who are employed, work in the service section. About a fifth work in industry and a further fifth in agriculture. The principal agricultural products are wheat, corn, tomatoes, rice, peppers, livestock and livestock products, and tobacco. Industry primarily is low technology – textiles account for half the exports. Other industries include oil refining, mining (coal, chromium, lead, zinc and ferro-nickel), basic textiles, construction, shoe production and tobacco processing.
International organisations are working in the country to fight corruption and promote inter-ethnic dialogue and cooperation. They are also addressing gender inequality and supporting victims of domestic violence.
Situation of the children in Macedonia
The children of Macedonia have been affected by the falling standards of living. As parents have struggled to find employment, there has been an increase in poverty and households with children are particularly affected. Children in large families (over six members) are particularly affected. Six per cent of children are forced to work: according to statistics they mostly work in the family business. Twelve per cent of children marry before they reach the age of 18.
The number of cases of under-five infant mortality remains high: at 11 per 1,000 live births the rate remains above the European Union average of 4.7 per 1,000 births. The figure is higher in rural areas than in urban areas. In fact children from rural areas face other problems too: they are more likely to drop out of primary education and less likely to go onto secondary education.
Children with a Roma background are particularly disadvantaged – more of them live in poverty and drop out of primary school. Only about one third of Roma children attend secondary school.
The new economic conditions have created new reasons why children are taken into care. An increasing number are being taken into care due to the fact that the family lives in poverty. While attempts are made to place these children in the custody of relatives, about a fifth end up in state-run institutions.