Families suffering due to high levels of unemployment and poverty
Since 2014, Albania has been a candidate to join the European Union. In this context, changes have taken place and the lives of some families have improved. However, around one quarter of the population continues to live in poverty. The poorest five per cent struggle daily to feed their families. Poverty mostly affects women, young people and those living in isolated rural areas.
Albanians themselves see unemployment and corruption as the two main problems that they face. The unemployment rate remains high at 17.5 per cent. Many people work in the informal economy – these jobs lack stability and protection from exploitation. Corruption also affects families on a regular basis when they deal with the authorities – they often have to pay extra to receive better and faster medical care or when enrolling their children in schools.
A lack of basic services for the most vulnerable
Children are at risk due to the lack of protection
There are an estimated 857,000 children under the age of 18 in Albania. In spite of some recent improvements, more needs to be done to protect children. Children without parental care are at a higher risk of discrimination, abuse and exploitation.
One such risk is child labour: according to UNICEF, around 12 per cent of children between the ages of 5-14 are working. Children from families in rural areas are most at risk: the child labour rates in rural areas are four times higher than in cities. Children work in factories, in agriculture or in the service industries. The majority of these children have dropped out of school after finishing primary school.
One in three young people under the age of 24 don't have a job. Those who do work are often paid low wages. These factors put them at risk of falling into the hands of human traffickers who promise them good jobs with high wages elsewhere.
SOS Children's Villages in Albania