The capital of Skopje is North Macedonia’s largest city and the country’s political and economic centre. Located in the northern part of the country, the city is home to around 525,000 people.
While better off than other parts of North Macedonia, inequality has increased and unemployment remains high, with many people living in poverty and inadequate housing.
Since 2002, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Skopje.
Many children miss out on preschool: Only one in 300 children who lives in poverty attend preschool, while only two-thirds attend secondary education.
Most children who did not attend an early childhood education programme live in the country’s households with lowest incomes.
For children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, early education can be beneficial in setting them up for success in subsequent years of school. It also contributes to their social and cognitive development, as well as their social inclusion.
At least 13% of children in North Macedonia live in overcrowded households.
However, more than 32% of households with the lowest incomes and 30% families with more than one child lack adequate space.
Cramped living conditions can harm family relationships, negatively affect children's education and contribute to mental health challenges. These environments prevent children from finding space for themselves and increase the risk of violence within families.