SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina).

A provincial town located in the predominantly rural Tuzla Canton in the north-east of Bosnia, Gračanica is home to around 48,000 inhabitants. Financial incentives encourage 51% of the population to continue living in rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However families living in rural areas have less access to basic services and employment opportunities than those living in urban areas.

Since 1998, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gracanica.

1 in 5
People live in poverty

Children are vulnerable

Despite a lower cost of living, rural poverty rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina are twice that of urban centres, with over 20% of rural dwellers living in poverty. A lack of education and larger families perpetuate poverty in rural areas. Children are disproportionately affected and more vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Children who live in poverty face long-term consequences on their life as adults, including detrimental consequences on their educational, physical, intellectual, and psychological development.

3 in 4
Young children are not enrolled in preschool

Missing out on early education

Around 25% of young children in Bosnia and Herzegovina go to preschool. This national preschool enrolment level is the lowest among countries in the region, but the situation is worse in rural areas, where even fewer children attend. Children from rural areas make up less than 1% of all children attending preschool. For children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, early education can strongly contribute to their social and cognitive development. It also improves their social inclusion and sets them up for educational success and improves prospects in adulthood.

Your support makes a difference for children in Gracanica

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages works to protect the rights and privacy of children. As you may notice, we do not show any identifiable photos of children in general information about Gracanica. This is because we have limited permission from the children and/or their legal guardians (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina).

How your support helps in Gracanica

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.