More than 100,000 children live in absolute poverty in Serbia, the UNICEF office in Belgrade warned on Wednesday.
A statement said that 115,000 children live in absolute poverty while another 30.2 percent of children in the country are at risk of falling below the poverty line.
Just half of the children in Serbia are in pre-schools, the statement said and added that just nine percent of the poorest kids and six percent of Roma children are in pre-schools. The statement said that just one fifth of Roma children attend high school and 60 percent of Roma girls are married before the age of 18.
Handicapped children continue to be excluded from society despite changes in attitude, UNICEF warned.
The statement said that Serbia has achieved significant progress in implementing children’s rights and now children “have a very chance of living past the age of one and almost 100 percent of children attend elementary school” and have access to the Internet and digital technology. They also have an 89 percent chance of continuing their education.
UNICEF spokeswoman Vesna Savic Djukic said that Serbia is facing a negative demography trend and called the authorities, business community and NGO sector to invest in the youngest generations. “The children from the poorest and most marginalized families are the most at risk,” she said.