Cholpon-Ata is a small town in the rural Issyk Kul region, in northern Kyrgyzstan. Most of the people live off agriculture, which is at risk due to worsening environmental challenges.
Although there is a high number of children who are at risk of losing the care of their parents, there are not enough specialists who can provide the support they need in order to stay together. This often results in children being taken into institutional care, where they are at risk of poor treatment and education.
Since 2002, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cholpon-Ata.
In Kyrgyzstan, the risk of poverty is significantly greater in rural areas, like Cholpon-Ata. Despite being lower than the rural average, Issyk-Kul has a very high poverty rate, with 28% of the population living below the poverty line and 0.5% living in extreme poverty.
Rural children are at greater risk of poverty due to poor access to education, employment opportunities and services. Given these remote locations, children in poor families live precariously on the margins of society, at risk of their basic needs not being met.
Over 50% of children consume less than the recommended daily calories. As a sign of chronic poverty, 12% of children under 5 years of age in Kyrgyzstan are stunted. The highest rates of stunting are among rural children (more than 13%) and children in households with the lowest incomes (14%).
Child malnutrition has multiple effects, from an inability to concentrate in school to poor cognitive function; and poor growth and development. It can also lead to a weakened immune system, resulting in illness and disease.