SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Croatia).

Lekenik, is a village and a municipality within Sisak-Moslavina county, in central Croatia. The village, which is home to around 1,900 people, is 24km from Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, which has approximately 700,000 inhabitants. Sisak-Moslavina is one of the least developed areas in Croatia. Many families struggle to make ends meet, and as many as 70% of people rely on social assistance.

Since 1993, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Lekenik.

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Children live in poor housing in Croatia

Children in poor housing

Poor, overcrowded and cold: Over a third of Croatia’s citizens live in overcrowded housing. This affects as many as 49% of children. In addition, low-income families experience energy poverty, with at least 19% unable to provide adequate heating to keep their homes warm. A cold home affect a child’s physical health, especially young children who are home more. In addition, children may also not have an appropriate place to do homework and face poor mental health outcomes.

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Children from the Roma minority live in poverty

Children face marginalization

Many of Croatia’s Roma live in Sisak-Moslavina and Zagreb. This community in marginalized and faces discrimination in Croatia. This affects their health, housing, education, employment, and risk of living in poverty. More than 22% of children from the Roma community live in material deprivation, with younger children being more deprived. Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, as well as face social exclusion.

Your support makes a difference for children in Lekenik

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children spending time together and doing some crafts. Children grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Croatia).

How your support helps in Lekenik

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.