Tirana is the capital of Albania, located in the centre of the country and surrounded by mountains and hills. As the largest city in the country, it is home to almost one third of the country’s children. Almost 900,000 people live in the city, with many coming here in search of work
In comparison to the rural and isolated areas of Albania, families and children have many opportunities in Tirana. However, life in the city can be challenging for many: affordable housing can be hard to find and social support is almost non-existent. Families in difficulty are often left to struggle on their own.
Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tirana.
Social services in Albania are severely underfunded. Only 1% of government spending goes to social assistance, and most of this is spent on cash transfers rather than targeted services for the vulnerable population.
The little support that is available is difficult for families to access, and parents are left to struggle with balancing childcare and supporting their family financially.
Without extra support, these children may not receive the care they need, with 26% of children in Albania already victims of neglect.
1 in 3 children have seen their mother being treated violently. Domestic violence continues to be a problem in Albania, and children are often the indirect victims: 31% of children have witnessed their mother being treated violently.
Violent methods of discipline for children are also accepted: one third of parents believe children should be hit for their mistakes.
These children are often traumatized by what they are exposed to, and grow up living in fear. This can have serious effects on their emotional and psychological development as they grow older.