Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is home to a population of 1.2 million people. The country is partitioned into two main parts; the southern Republic of Cyprus remains under the Cyprus government, associated with Greece and comprises 59% of the island, while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus constitutes 36% of the island.
The north is recognized only by Turkey and the people living in Northern Cyprus are affected by the long-standing political disputes.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Northern Cyprus since 1993.
Almost 14% of Cypriots are at risk of poverty.
However, children are disproportionately vulnerable to poverty, with 19% of under 18s at risk. The risk of poverty is higher for households run by single parents (21%) or where parents are not employed (36%). Around 9% of children face severe material deprivation.
Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, as well as face social exclusion.
The unemployment rate in Cyprus is relatively high due to financial and political issues in the country, with a national rate of almost 9%.
Young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment, with a rate of almost 12%. Youth who are out of work have decreased well-being and greater social isolation. They also lack opportunities to gain and improve their skills. This limits their current and future employment prospects.
Cyprus receives thousands of migrants each year, and asylum seekers now represent 5% of the island nation's population.
Overcrowded living conditions in refugee camps means minors often need to share a bed or sleep on the floor. Many children arriving in Cyprus are unaccompanied or separated from their families, surviving in miserable and unhygienic condition. Torn from their homes, many children have experienced violence and traumatic events.