SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Belarus).

Located in north-eastern Europe, on the border of Russia and Ukraine, Belarus is home to nearly 9.5 million people. Less than 20% of the population are under the age of 18, making it a country with one of the lowest birthrates in the world. Many of these children and young people need support so that they can grow up safely, and have a future to look forward to.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Belarus since 1995.

Children are at risk

One of the biggest challenges for families in Belarus is finding the support they need during hard times so that they can stay together. Children are at risk of losing the care of their parents due to various factors: Violence against children and women is common, especially in domestic settings. The high rates of substance dependencies and limited job opportunities are further reasons why children can’t stay with their families. Although the social support system in Belarus has improved in recent years, many families are falling through the gaps, especially in rural areas.
Of parents in Belarus have violently disciplined their child


Violent methods of discipline against children are widely accepted across Belarus: 74% of parents have used some form of violent punishment against their child or children. This violent behavior is seen in other areas of life too, with, for example, high rates of bullying in schools. More work needs to be done to raise public awareness about the negative, long-lasting effects that violence can have on children and young people.

Of children in state care in Belarus have living parents

Loss of parental care

In Belarus, 4 in 5 children who live in state-led care homes have living parents. These children are unable to live with their parents for a variety of reasons. The most common are: financial difficulties, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Despite recent improvements, social support for families at risk in Belarus is still insufficient. Family support services are limited, and families are often only identified when they are already deep in crisis.

1 in 5
Young people in Belarus lack care and protection

Young people at risk

Many young people in Belarus face a difficult start in life: 1 in 5 children and young people aged between 10 and 17 lack adequate care and protection. Violence against older children is also prevalent, with more than half of the children in this age group having experienced either physical or psychological violence from their caregiver. This neglect has a serious impact on their development, mental health, and education, and is likely to continue to affect them into their adulthood.

Together we can make a difference for children in Belarus

Can stay together
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages Belarus supports families so that they can stay together during the hard times. Most recently, we have started to support young mothers and their babies. When children and young people come into our care, we work hard to keep siblings together. The bonds formed during childhood often last a lifetime, and will help them face some of the challenges ahead (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Belarus).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting.
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives