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A bright future for children at Ladimirevci, Croatia

Family life in Croatia is difficult. Those suffering from poverty are forced to put their children into institutionalised childcare, where they miss out on a loving and supportive upbringing. SOS Children works to keep Croatian families together and offers a nurturing and caring home to children who cannot live with their families.

To help a child in Croatia benefits from a loving family, sponsor a child in Croatia today.

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War has damaged the economy and families are suffering

During 1991 to 1995, war damaged Croatia's economic infrastructure and many families were driven from their homes. Recovery has been slow and corruption is holding back the country's development. Families suffer from poverty and unemployment, and many have still been unable to return home.

Children in Croatia often end up in institutionalised care

Often parents have no choice but to place their children in institutions. Families where children have mental or physical disabilities receive no support, and children end up in institutions without the specialised care and attention they need. 

Our Work in Croatia

Croatia map
SOS Children began working in Croatia in 1992 and concentrates on supporting families and helping parents care for their children. This approach is very much in demand in Croatia as an alternative to the institutionalised care programmes run by the government. 


Lekenik has one of the highest numbers of children without parental care. SOS Children focuses on establishing long-term support programmes for families. Children are cared for through daycare whilst parents work, taking part in workshops, sports and cookery.


Ladimirevci was hit particularly badly by the war in the 1990s, and SOS Children has provided vital support for families forced to abandon their homes. As in Lekenik, long-term family support was warmly received in Ladimirevci.

Life in SOS Children's Village Croatia: Styling for the future

Hairdresser and mentor, CroatiaWhen Matea moved from SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci to the SOS Youth Home in the near-by town of Osijek, all she wanted was to finish school and get a job with a decent salary at a local hair salon. A year later, the once shy 16-year-old is confident that she can shape her future as she chooses!

When Matea was asked to participate in the annual inter-city contest for hairdressing students as the sole representative from the town of Osijek she did not hesitate to agree, but she did tremble with fear. Insecure about her talent, Matea registered last minute, after she had been persuaded to do so by her teacher and her youth home educator.

"At the time, I think they believed in me more than I myself did," Matea talks about her debut in a large contest. "When the day of the contest came, I was a nervous wreck. I was so convinced that I would be knocked out in the first round." The challenge was to style a woman's hair both for during the day and for an evening out.

The third-year student is doing her compulsory work experience at a local hair salon in Osijek. The owner, Ms Zorica, is very satisfied with Matea's work. "Like Matea, I am still excited that she came second place and has qualified for the tenth national hairstyling contest in Zagreb this April," says Zorica.

"Matea's success seems all the more important when you know that she grew up without her parents and had to work extra hard to prove her worth," adds Ms Zorica. "In the future, I just intend to take on young people from SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci and the SOS Youth Home in Osijek [for work experience at the salon]. Matea has opened the door for them."

Matea still has not disclosed what her hairstyle will be like at the national contest, but she has told us about her future wishes and plans. "I would, of course, like to continue to work as a hairstylist and learn everything I can from Ms Zorica. She has promised to let me in on the secrets of ethnic hairstyles, which are very challenging to do. I hope I can master these styles and maybe make them popular around the world one day," says Matea in conclusion.

Local Contact

SOS-Djecje selo Hrvatska 

Zavrtnica 5/III    10000

Tel: +385/1/46 100 66, +385/1/46 100 67   

Fax: +385/1/46 182 08   

e-mail: info@sos-dsh.hr