Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is situated in the north of the country in the Chüy region. The city has around one million inhabitants.
Despite being in a rural region, the surrounding Chüy region is home to almost 25% of the country’s population, making it one of the most densely populated regions in Kyrgyzstan.
Since 1999, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bishkek.
Children are malnourished: In Kyrgyzstan, parents often move to urban centres, like Bishkek, for better employment prospects. Despite being lower than the urban average, Bishkek still has a high poverty rate, with 17% of the population living below the poverty line.
Children growing up in poor urban neighbourhoods are more likely to experience a greater concentration of poverty, crime, and marginalization. As such, these children are at a disproportionate risk of traumatic events that negatively impact their future.
Around 8% of children live in a household where there is no handwashing facility with both water and soap on the premises.
Worse still, while Bishkek has one of the worst air pollution levels in the world, a quarter of children in Kyrgyzstan also experience indoor pollution, often the result of burning coal for heating homes, which is used by 70% of people. Unhealthy environments not only jeopardize children’s health now and, in the future, but also risk their lives and contributed to child and infant mortality.