SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Serbia).

The Republic of Serbia has a declining and ageing population of 7.3 million with over 20 ethnic minority populations. Many people have moved to cities in search of work. As a result, most people, around 60%, live in urban areas while the rest live in semi-urban and rural communities. The capital city, Belgrade, is home to around 1.4 million inhabitants, one fifth of the country’s population.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Serbia since 2005.

Children are at risk

Children and young people under 18 years of age make up about 17% of the population, which is about 1.2 million. Although most agree that violent discipline harms children, corporal punishment of children is considered appropriate by nearly half of parents. In addition, domestic violence is widespread and underreported. As a result, nearly 50% of young children (aged 1-4) and about 40% of children (aged 5-14) are exposed to physical violence.
1 in 3
Children are at risk of poverty

Basic needs

In the Balkans, Serbia experiences the highest percentage of citizens living below the national poverty line. More than 25% of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion, with around 7% living in absolute poverty. Children are disproportionately affected, with around 30% at risk of poverty and 10% living in absolutely poverty. As a result, around 120,000 children live precariously on the margins of society where their basic needs can no longer be met.

1 in 3
Children miss out on preschool

Early education

Two-thirds of children ages 3 to 5 attend preschool, with one-third of this age group not attending preschool. Young children who do not attend preschool are mostly from low-income households. Only 9% of the poorest children in Serbia and 6% of Roma children attend preschool. For children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, early education can make an important contribution to their social and cognitive development, as well as to their social inclusion.

1 in 5
Children are stunted


Serbia has one of the highest levels of the population living in hunger, with 6% of people being undernourished. Children face significant consequences of hunger, with 4% experiencing wasting and 6% stunting. The numbers are greater for Roma children where 5% experience wasting and 19% are stunted. Malnutrition in children has multiple effects, from impaired growth, development and well-being, to a weakened immune system which can lead to disease.

Together we can make a difference for children in Serbia

Can stay together
Children and adults
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Can stay together
Children and young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Emergency services
Were possible
English language class for refugee children in the Child Friendly Space of SOS Children's Villages in the reception centre Presevo, south Serbia. In Serbia, SOS Children's Villages provides non-formal education to Arabic- and Farsi-speaking refugee children in three locations (photo: K. Ilievska)

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives