We have a long-establised presence in south-eastern Hungary. For over 30 years we worked in Battonya, a small town with a population of around 7,000 people, close to the Romanian border. In 2015, we moved to nearby Oroshaza, a bustling town with a population close to 30,000.
The town is an industrial centre with several factories making glass and agricultural equipment. Despite this, Oroshaza's unemployment rate is much higher than in other parts of the country. Lots of people are leaving the town, attracted by better job opportunities abroad or in bigger Hungarian cities. For the children and families left behind, life becomes increasingly hard as communities break down and they become gradually isolated.
Children at risk
Worringly, an increasing number of parents are struggling to take care of their children - 7,300 children in Oroshaza and the surrounding area are at risk. The government does have some measures in place to protect children and young people, but many still fall through the cracks. Over a hundred are taken into care every year - a number that only looks set to rise.
Thankfully, Hungary's infamous childcare institutions are no longer used, and children are instead placed with foster families. But there are not enough of these families to meet the need.
How are we helping?
Supporting families and local communities
We work in partnership with local childcare professionals and organisations to deliver the right services for the children of Oroshaza. Our Family Strengthening Programme helps the families most at risk of breaking up, including young mothers and Roma families.
Every case is assessed individually and a support package tailored to meet their needs. We place great emphasis on getting children from these families back to school. We also run dedicated workshops for local communities on the issues of child rights. These workshops are designed to increase awareness of some of the key issues that affect children and young people in today's world.
We are continuing to run our Family Strengthening Programme in Battonya, a small town that hit hard by the economic crisis - families their regularly struggle to make ends meet.
Providing care in SOS families
Children who have no-one to care for them can find love and support in our Children's Village. The Village has ten families, all of whom live in houses within neighbourhoods in Oroshaza. This means that the children are able to feel fully part of, and engaged with, their local community. The younger children go to a nearby nursery school, while the older kids go to schools in the area.
Support for young people
Being a young person in Hungary is often not easy. The high unemployment rate makes finding a good, stable job difficult. Our SOS youth programme, based in Szeged, helps young people, including teenagers from our Children's Village in Oroshaza, gain the skills and understanding they need to flourish in the world of work.