SOS Children's Villages has been working in the south-east of Hungary since 1986. For nearly 30 years we have supported children in Battonya. In 2015, we relocated to Oroshaza, a bigger city where the children have a wider choice of schools, training centres and after-school activities.
The town of Oroshaza is an industrial centre in an otherwise deprived region
Yummy! Self-baked cookies always taste best (photo :P. Egyed)
Oroshaza is in south-eastern Hungary and around 29,000 (2013 est) people live in the town. Many people have decided to move out of the area, going abroad or to other Hungarian cities where there are more jobs.
The unemployment rate in the region is higher than in other areas of the country; it is especially high in rural areas. Most people live off farming but the town of Oroshaza has become an industrial centre; there are factories making glass and building agricultural equipment.
Children at risk
Many families suffer the effects of unemployment and poverty. A growing number of parents find it hard to look after their children – over 7,300 children are estimated to be at risk (2012 est). In spite of the government’s best efforts, there is a lack of support for families at risk, and very often the children have to leave their families.
Around 140 children are taken into care every year, and this number is rising. In the past, these children would have been moved into impersonal institutions. Nowadays most children are placed in foster families. There is, however, a shortage of families who can take care of them and some children have complex needs which cannot be met by individual families.
The school drop-out rate is relatively high, especially for vulnerable families. There is also a high number of children with special needs, and schools are often unable to provide the help they need.
Providing support to vulnerable families and children
Hungary has undergone many changes since SOS Children's Villages started working in the country. We have adapted our activities to meet the needs of the population. At times of economic crisis and cuts in the welfare system, our work with vulnerable children and young adults who have lost parental care has been extremely important.
We also work closely with local professionals and organisations. We form strong partnerships so that families in need can get all the support they need. We also support teenagers and young mothers who are in care.
Due to the difficult situation faced by families in Battonya, we will continue to run a family strengthening programme in our former location.
What we do in Oroshaza
Learning to read with your sister is fun (photo: P. Egyed)
Strengthening families: The SOS Family Strengthening Programme provides much needed support to families who are at risk of breaking down. We aim to reach out to those who are especially vulnerable – young mothers and families with Roma backgrounds. Each family needs different assistance: in some cases we support families so that the children can go to school. We also run workshops on children’s rights and raise awareness on key issues affecting children and young people.
Care in families: Children who have lost parental care can find a loving home in families, where brothers and sisters can grow up together. Some children are looked after by SOS foster families. All families are selected and trained by SOS Children's Villages to ensure that the children are cared for to the highest standards set by SOS Children's Villages. We provide continuous social and emotional support to all families.
The families are fully integrated into the community. The children attend the nearby kindergartens and schools and take part in activities in their area. We work with the local schools and sports clubs so that children can receive a good education and enjoy their free time.
Supporting young people: The high unemployment rate and the shortage of affordable housing make it difficult for young people to become independent. The SOS Youth Programme, which is based in Szeged, helps young people gain further training and supports them while they look for work.