With around 112,000 people, Kecskemét is the eighth-largest city in the Hungary. While production and processing of fruit, vegetables, and meat use to be the main source of employment, new jobs were created by the car manufacturing industry. As a result, unemployment in the city is low at around 3%.
Nevertheless, the recent economic difficulties of Hungary have led to a cut in social welfare programmes, and this has affected the lives of many children in the region,
Since 1990, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kecskemét.
The minimum income allowance in Hungary has remained unchanged since 2012 and is one of the least adequate in the EU. As such, vulnerable families are not given enough economic support to care for their children, leaving more that 20% of minors at risk of poverty, and more than 15% suffering from material deprivation.
Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, as well as face social exclusion that further worsen their future prospects.
While the central region has the lowest rates in Hungary, malnutrition in children remains a problem in the region where Kecskemét is located. Roughly 6% of children aged 1 year suffer from malnutrition, 1 in 20 children aged 3 and 1 in 25 children aged 5 are malnourished.
Child hunger is a taboo subject, but failure to address it has serious long-term effects on children. These include poor development and increased vulnerability to infection and risk of poor health. It can also lead to lack of energy motivation to play or study, all of which is harmful to them and their future.