Breaking the cycle of poverty

The poverty is the general context of children’s lives in the region and is interconnected with every further specific challenge. Near 30 percent of children or more, grow in poverty.

The eleventh principle in the European Pillar of Social Rights states: “Children have the right to protection from poverty. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have the right to specific measures to enhance equal opportunities”. Since the EU integration is the most significant social and political process in the region, and especially in the context of it being seen as the counterbalance to the Russian influence, it creates an opportunity for AFS and its partners to approach the fact of child poverty from the perspective of the EU enlargement or furthering EUs influence in the interest zones in the region, i.e. as a political question.

In Serbia, as a typical country of the region, an emerging phenomenon is that the “presence of children in the household significantly increases its risk of poverty “[1]. Poverty affects families at all levels, including the relations among the parents, children and parents and even among the relatives, consequently creating persistent stress levels, creating difficulties for parents to be dedicated to the parenthood in the way it is needed.  Child poverty plays crucial role in all aspects of life, starting with the availability of quality education from the earliest age, which procrastinates the development of the child’s full potential, thus ending the cycle of poverty. Social exclusion of children points out to the necessity to develop a wider spectre system of services within communities, which would respond to different (evidence-based and tailored – made) needs of families with children from vulnerable groups.

Children (up to 18 years of age) are most at risk of poverty (30%) compared to other age groups.
The share of people over the age of 18 at risk of poverty decreases with the level of education.
The population with no education and elementary school had the highest poverty risk rate, which amounted to as much as 39.1%, and the smallest population with a university degree – 10.3%.[2]


AFS  supports the development of the inter-sectorial services for children in communities in accordance with the recognised needs of families and children, where the special attention is aimed at the mechanisms of support to children from rural areas, children who are at risk of leaving their education too early and children with disabilities.

[1]  First National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia 

[2] Third National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia –  The Status of Social Exclusion and Poverty Trends in the Period 2014–2017 and Future Priorities