The Republic of Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe and home to roughly 9.8 million people. Its capital, Budapest has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants. Most Hungarians work in the service industry and therefore tourism is an important source of income. Around a third of the working population is employed in industry and about five per cent works in agriculture.
There are around 876,000 Roma people in Hungary, comprising over 10% of the country's population. They face discrimination and marginalization, and therefore are one of the most vulnerable groups in the country.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the Hungary since 1986.
Roma families face discrimination and marginalization in all aspects of social life. They rely on seasonal work or informal day labour for income, making them exceptionally vulnerable to economic changes.
Roma are disproportionally affected, with more 65% at risk of poverty and social exclusion and more than 45% experiencing severe material deprivation. As a result, children live precariously on the margins of society, in, or at risk of, falling into poverty where their basic needs can no longer be met.
School attendance is compulsory from ages 6 to16. However, 20% of Hungarian children and young adults do not attend school, trainings, university, or kindergarten.
More work needs to be done to improve the educational chances of Hungarian children, particularly in rural and poor communities and among minorities. For example, only 1% of young people from the Roma community graduate from higher education.
Nationwide, roughly 8% of children who are 1 year old suffer from malnutrition. This figure improves as children get older, but 1 in 17 children who are aged 5 are malnourished.
Child hunger is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, 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. They may also lack energy and motivation to play or study, all of which is harmful to them and their future.