BiH is one of the poorest countries in Europe. There are 178,000 children living in poverty. More than 60% of the population live in rural areas. And rural poverty is as twice as common as poverty in urban areas. Every third child does not have adequate and regular nutrition, nor do they enjoy satisfying housing, while every fourth child lacks the necessary conditions for education (including warm clothes and footwear). These three dimensions, nutrition, housing, and education, are the most important conditions for a healthy and happy childhood.
According to official data, out of the total number of poor children, 50,000 of them live in extreme poverty. However, based on the experience of life in BiH, it is assumed that this number is bigger. This means that these children live in chronic poverty with multiple consequences and complex needs. Parents in poor families often can’t afford the minimum acceptable nutrition to meet their child’s daily needs. Having on mind the above-mentioned data, it can be concluded that every night 1 of 3 poor children in BiH goes to bed hungry.
Universal primary education is prescribed by law in BiH. However, the percentage of children who aren’t enrolled in primary school is disconcerting. From the other side, almost 32% the children who finish primary education do not continue with the enrollment in secondary school, which is far above the EU average of 11%.The reason for this is poverty. Due to impoverishment, children often face obstacles at school and choose to leave, thereby reducing their chance for a happier, brighter future.
There are 786.461 children living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Compared to the general population, children are more exposed to, and affected by, poverty. The data suggest the hardships children in BiH face: Every other child is exposed to physical violence. 2% of children are neglected, which implies parental failure to meet a child's basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate health care, supervision, clothing, nutrition, and housing. 88% of children don’t get pre-school education. 2.4% of children do not complete elementary school, and 32% of children do not complete secondary school.