The capital of Azerbaijan is home to 2.4 million inhabitants, roughly a quarter of the country’s population. Despite significant development, Baku is still growing as people move here from rural areas.
As such, Baku a city of glaring wealth disparity. In addition, it hosts more than 600,000 internally displaced persons, the majority of whom fled to Baku in the hope of work and refuge.
Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Baku.
Of the country’s internally displaced persons, it is estimated that more than a third are children, including those that have been born to parents who fled conflict. Many families who fled to Baku, sought shelter in dilapidated public buildings. With many of these building being demolished in the construction boom and parents facing discrimination and unemployment, there is a high number of children on the streets of Baku.
Children on the street are at an increased risk of sexual and physical violence, abuse, and exploitation, as well as disease and malnutrition, and psychosocial distress.
Economic changes have increased the need for social protection systems in Azerbaijan, in particular child allowances. Less than 20% of children are covered by at least one social protection scheme, and less than 10% covered specifically by a child allowance.
Children are now facing increasing inequality due to declining family incomes and deteriorating socio-economic conditions. Without well-resourced services to support families that face poverty or difficult situations, children run the risk of living in institutions deprived of opportunities to grow and thrive in family environments.