The city of Kraljevo is the administrative centre of the Raška District in central Serbia. Kraljevo has about 70,000 inhabitants and is situated at approximately 170 km south of Belgrade.
The area is one of the regions with the lowest net salaries in the country. On average, a quarter to a third of the population are at risk of poverty.
Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kraljevo.
At the national level, the school attendance rate at secondary level is about 90%. However, in low income families it is about 70%, and only 22% of Roma children attend secondary school full-time.
In Raška district, where Kraljevo is located, only 78-86% of children finish their secondary education.
A poor educational background can worsen prospects for future employment, limit social and emotional development. It also increases children’s and young people’s vulnerability to abuse and criminal exploitation.
Although child labour is prohibited for children under the age of 15 in Serbia, and there are special laws to protect working children between the ages of 15 and 18, at least 10% of children reportedly work, 3% of them in hazardous conditions.
Child labour robs children of their childhood. The balancing act between work and school deprives them of the right to education, affects their academic performance, and causes them to underachieve, drop out of school early, or not go to school at all.