Located in the Karaganda region, the city of Temirtau has a population of less than 200,000 people.
Previously known at the AIDS capital of Kazakhstan, Temirtau is right in the middle of a major narcotics route. Drug use is reportedly widespread among the young and the unemployed, and contraception use is low, raising the risk of transmission. Many of those suffering from drug addictions have been in prison or face housing problems. Children from these families are vulnerable - in most cases they do not attend kindergarten or school and are socially isolated.
Since 2004, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Temirtau.
Around a quarter of children aged 3-6 do not attend early childhood education. They are missing essential experiences in preparation for going to primary school.
Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to participate in pre-primary education, which includes children from low-income, rural households as well as families who have moved to Kazakhstan.
For these children, early education can strongly contribute to their social and cognitive development, as well as their social inclusion.
Early marriage is practiced in Kazakhstan, and it is likely that the reported value of 7% child marriages is an underreported number.
The most at-risk groups are girls in rural and/or ethnic communities where traditional practices persist. There are also reports of bride-kidnapping in these communities.
The impact on girls is devastating. Young brides are at particular risk of physical and sexual violence at home. In addition, they often do not complete their education and therefore have no or few qualifications. Their future employment is limited to the lowest paid and lowest qualified jobs, or to remain working in the household.