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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's Villages works to keep Croatian families together and offers a nurturing and caring home to children who cannot live with their families. In 2015 we launched an emergency relief programme in Croatia in response to the refugee crisis.

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

Sponsor a child in Croatia

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. Nearly one in five adults are without work.

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

SOS Children's Villages 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.

Croatia map

Responding to emergencies

Having worked in the country for over a decade means we are well placed to respond to crises. For example, in 2014, our emergency response programme helped children and families affected by the devastating floods.

In 2015, we began supporting refugees who have been passing through Croatia on their way to better lives in western Europe. The programme is focusing on caring for children, particularly those who are unaccompanied, pregnant women and mothers.


Lekenik, Zagreb

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, Osijek

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, CroatiaOur SOS Youth Home in Ladimirevci is home to Matea, shy 16 year old and budding hair stylist. Such was her talent, that one year, she was invited to represent her hometown in the annual inter-city hairdressing contest.

Unsure of her ability, the idea of competing terrified Matea. In the end, it was her SOS mentor who persuaded her to accept the invitation.

“I think they believed in me more than I myself did,” Matea remembers. “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.”

Matea came second, and today she is completing her work experience at a local salon. Her boss, Ms Zorica, is delighted with her progress, especially considering her background: “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.”

In future, Ms Zorica intends to take on more work experience students from the Children's Village: “Matea has opened the door to them.”

As for Matea; she has grand plans - when she has picked up the trade secrets from Ms Zorica, that is: “She has promised to let me in on the secrets of ethnic hairstyles. I hope I can master these styles and maybe make them popular around the world!”

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


A new SOS Children's village in Chipata in Zambia provides a loving home to children who used to live in poverty.