Our work in Denmark
SOS Children’s Villages has been present in Denmark since 1963 when "The Committee for Danish friends of SOS Children’s Villages" was formed. The founding work was carried out by two Austrian women who had been evacuated from Vienna to Denmark during World War I and who were members of the Danish-Austrian society. "SOS-Børnebyerne, Danmark" was officially founded in November 1964; until 1970, however, the secretariat in Copenhagen was run only on a voluntary basis.
SOS Children’s Villages does not work with children in Denmark, but raises funds to support children elsewhere. Initial fundraising led to the financing of two family homes in the SOS Children’s Village in South Korea.
Some facts about Denmark
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe. Denmark's sole land border is with Germany in the south, with the rest of the country being surrounded by the sea. Denmark's capital city is Copenhagen with about 1.7 million inhabitants.
The population (excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland) is 5.5 million (July 2011 est.), of whom 90% are Danish, and the rest are immigrants and their descendants. They come from other Scandinavian countries, Europe, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Iran, and Pakistan.
Greenland's population is about 56,000, with the Faroe Islands being inhabited by about 48,000 people. Denmark's official language is Danish, with another native language, Faroese, being used in the Faroe Islands. In Greenland, people speak Inuit (Greenlandic).
Denmark is involved in many international organisations. It has been a member of the European Union since 1973, although it has not joined the Eurozone. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and the OECD. It also belongs to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
One of the highest income equality rates in the world
Denmark is highly successful in the economic field, and as a result, the population enjoys a high standard of living. The country invests heavily in the welfare state, and has excellent conditions in terms of health and education. It is an egalitarian society, having one of the highest income equality rates in the world.
The unemployment rate is very low at 4.2 per cent, which is below the European Union average. Historically more women have been unemployed than men, but this has changed in recent years because the industries which have been hardest hit by the economic changes are those where men work. 76 per cent of Denmark’s population is primarily employed in the services sector, 23 per cent in industry (food processing, metalwork, clothes and chemical products) and around one per cent in agriculture (raising pork, growing barley, oat, wheat and rye).
In spite of this positive picture, it is estimated that around 12 per cent of the population lives below the nationally-established poverty line. This high level of poverty is a relatively new phenomenon in the country and is linked to social exclusion and marginalisation from the labour market.
Situation of the children in Denmark
There are around 1.2 million children under the age of 18 in Denmark. The high levels of expenditure on welfare and the low income inequality have a positive impact on children’s lives.
Danish children have access to one of the best educational systems in the world. Education is compulsory up to the age of 15 or 16, and over 80 per cent continue to attend school after this age.
Along with its Nordic neighbours - Finland, Sweden and Norway - Denmark has one of the lowest rates of childhood poverty with less than five per cent of children living in poor households. Most of the children who are living in poverty come from an immigrant background. As is to be expected, the poverty rates are particularly high when the families first arrive and decrease with time as the families find a way to make a living in Denmark.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 have a good employment rate, but they are still at a higher risk of poverty than older members of the labour force.
SOS Children's Villages in Denmark
At present our organisation does not work with children without parental care in Denmark. The main activity of the Danish association is to promote the goals and activities of SOS Children’s Villages and raise funds in form of sponsorships and donations for projects in other area of the world in Asia, Africa and Latin America.