Borovljany is a small town in central Belarus, located only around 14 kilometres north-east of Minsk, the country’s capital. With a population of nearly 2 million, over 20% of the whole Belarusian population resides in Minsk.
Outside of the city, the region mainly consists of rural towns and villages, where many families live off small subsistence farms and household plots.
Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Borovljany.
Despite great improvements in national poverty levels, life in Belarus can still be challenging, especially for those living in rural areas. Work is scarce and wages are low.
Less than 20% of the Belarusian population are children, however they account for over 33% of those living in poverty.
The risk of poverty is higher for children with siblings or those in single-parent families, with parents struggling to support their family on a single income. Without additional support, families can find it difficult to stay together.
For young people in Belarus, it can be difficult to become independent: 14% of young people aged between 15 and 24 are not in school, at work or receiving any vocational training.
Work is limited in the rural towns and villages across Belarus, especially for young people. Without opportunities to get a good start into adult life, young people can find themselves in difficulty, with substance abuse and mental health issues becoming increasingly common among young Belarusians.